Turkish opposition sounds warning on Libya deal

Special Turkish opposition sounds warning on Libya deal
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj in Istanbul, Turkey. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 24 May 2023

Turkish opposition sounds warning on Libya deal

Turkish opposition sounds warning on Libya deal
  • Expanded security pact breaches UN arms embargo, CHP legislators claim

ANKARA: Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized an expanded security pact between Ankara and Libya, claiming it breaches a UN arms embargo.

The CHP on Monday lodged a dissenting opinion on the controversial deal, which is expected to be signed off by Turkish parliamentarians this week.

Although unlikely to affect the deal, the opposition move raises further questions about the expansion of military cooperation between the two countries.

Opposition parliamentarians claim the deal contradicts UN Security Council rulings on supplying arms to Libya.

The security agreement, which includes provisions for launching a “quick reaction force” if requested by Tripoli, was brought to Parliament on Saturday night.

Under the deal Turkey will also supply material, training and planning support to Libya.

The provisions on military training and technical support are seen by many as a way to permit Ankara to send troops to Libya.

The CHP said that the sending of materials and equipment to Libya would contravene a UN Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on the country.

The opposition party argues that if Turkey takes part in the unfolding civil conflict in Libya through proxy forces or by direct intervention, it will add to instability in the country.

It claims the use of “guest personnel” and “guest students” is a covert way to deploy military forces in Libya.

The CHP also criticized the financial burden the pact will impose on Turkey at a time when the government has called on people to avoid using foreign currency.

The opposition also issued a warning on the exchange of classified information, documents, defense and security materials under the security agreement.

“It is extremely dangerous for the domestic security of Turkey to share secret information with a political actor under war circumstances. The main point is that the conflict may spiral out of the control immediately,” the CHP said. 

The party also criticized the logistical support elaborated in the deal, saying “it would open the way for the government to support some jihadists organizations fighting on the ground with the Libyan government.”

The dissenting opinion was led by five CHP parliamentarians, Unal Cevikoz, Oguz Kaan Salici, Haluk Koc, Utku Cakirozer and Yunus Emre.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkey would consider sending troops to Libya if requested by Tripoli.

“This isn’t covered by the UN arms embargo. They can invite us,” he said during televised remarks last Monday.