Turkey rebuffs French call for troop withdrawal from Libya

Nov 14, 2021: Turkey has rejected a call by French President Emmanuel Macron to foreign powers to remove their troops after a  decade-long conflict in Libya.

The North African country has been embroiled in a civil war since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with rival factions in Libya as well as foreign powers in a bloodbath.

Turkey has sent troops from Syria to support the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, as well as pro-Ankara militia units, while Russia and other countries have backed the powerful strong man Khalifa Haftar in the east.

“Russia and Turkey must withdraw their mercenaries without delay,” Macron told an international conference on Libya in Paris on Friday. But a top foreign policy adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told AFP on Saturday that it was “wrong” to call for an immediate withdrawal of troops.

“If you single out the pulling out of foreign forces … from Libya, as the most important, as the top issue, we believe that is wrong,” Ibrahim Kalin said in an exclusive interview.

“Libya needs support for its political process, the elections, economic issues,” he said in reference to presidential polls that world leaders are hoping will go ahead on December 24.

France itself has been accused of backing Haftar, but has always insisted that it has been fully objective in the conflict.

Turkey has sent a lower-level delegation to Paris as a sign of continued resentment of Macron’s foreign policy stance. Kalin said the continued presence of Turkish troops in Libya would contribute to political stability and security in the energy-rich state.

“Our military presence there is to help the Libyan army train,” he said.

“We are there as a force of stability and help to the Libyan people. And our priority as far as security is concerned is to help the Libyans establish their united Libyan National Army.”

Stay tuned to BaaghiTV for latest news and Updates!

Five protesters killed as Sudanese rally against military coup