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Turkey to increase support for Libya's Serraj, says Erdogan

WION Web Team
Istanbul, TurkeyUpdated: Jun 04, 2020, 11:26 PM IST

Serraj and Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkey Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Fayez al Serraj, leader of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), held lengthy talks with Erdogan in Ankara, as the allies seek to lock in battlefield gains, including recapturing Tripoli, ahead of the truce talks.

President Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Thursday (June 4) to increase Turkey's support for Libya's internationally recognised government, and added that the two sides would expand their cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean, following talks in Ankara ahead of a new round of potential ceasefire talks.

Fayez al Serraj, leader of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), held lengthy talks with Erdogan in Ankara, as the allies seek to lock in battlefield gains, including recapturing Tripoli, ahead of the truce talks.

Turkey started backing the GNA in November after signing a military cooperation pact alongside a maritime demarcation deal, which gives Ankara oil exploration rights in the Mediterranean that Greece and others reject.

Turkish support in the conflict has pushed back Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, which had been attacking the GNA in Tripoli since April 2019. On Thursday, the GNA said it had regained control of Tripoli.

The latest advance could hasten steps toward a potential truce, underlining Turkey's growing influence in the resource-rich region where Erdogan could seek lasting energy and military cooperation.

Serraj's visit to Turkey comes after weeks of gains by the GNA, driving Haftar from his foothold in the northwest. A senior Turkish official said the recent gains by the GNA were critical ahead of the truce talks, and Ankara has said the recent gains were an opportunity for political talks.