Erdogan says Turkey might consider leaving Libya if others go first

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Turkey will discuss withdrawing its forces from Libya if other foreign troops leave first, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

In December, Turkey's parliament authorized an 18-month extension of its troop deployment in Libya.

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Ankara has long claimed Turkish armed personnel were only deployed in Libya to train units loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Libyan National Army (LNA), a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the East.

However, foreign powers and international monitors have accused Turkey of intervening militarily in the North African country with the hope of expanding its influence in the region.

Turkey’s presence in Libya is linked to its broader interests in the eastern Mediterranean, where it is hunting for natural gas in disputed waters claimed by Cyprus in Greece.

The Syrian Observatory, a war monitor, also reported that Turkey recruited Syrian and Somali mercenaries to fight in Libya alongside the GNA.

Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 toppling of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

On Saturday, an interim executive was selected to lead conflict-torn Libya until December elections following a decade of chaos.

- With AFP

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