Any plan excluding Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean is impossible, and Turkey will not shrink from steps needed to stand with the Libyan government and its people, said Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Tuesday.
"Turkey will continue to support Libya's legitimate, internationally recognized government, and will not forsake the Libyan people," Ibrahim Kalin told reporters following a Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex.
Turkey on Nov. 27 signed maritime boundary and security cooperation pacts with Libya’s Tripoli-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), spurning moves by other countries to carve up the Eastern Mediterranean without Turkish participation.
Dismissing the criticism of the maritime deal between Turkey and Libya, Kalin said that the pact contains nothing to disturb third parties.
When Israel, Egypt, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration met and made deals on a project in the Eastern Mediterranean excluding Turkey, no one questioned this, Kalin said.
Criticizing parties which question the legitimacy of the maritime deal, Kalin stressed that nobody question the deals between Libya’s GNA with Italy and France.
On Russias, Egyptian, and UAE support for Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar -- who leads forces opposed to the GNA -- Kalin stressed that this does not contribute to peace in the country.
Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.
-Syria and terrorist YPG/PKK
On continued Russian and Assad regime attacks in Idlib, northern Syria -- which is supposed to be under a cease-fire -- Kalin said that Turkey expects a halt to these attacks as soon as possible through a new cease-fire.
Mentioning that Turkey has 12 military observation points in Idlib, Kalin said that they are observing the de-escalation situation and taking measures to ensure the safety of civilians in the region.
"However, in recent weeks we have observed an increase in violations by the regime," he said.
If the attacks do not cease, the cease-fire deal will be violated, setting off a new humanitarian crisis and refugee wave to Turkey, he warned.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border following intense attacks.
Kalin also said that Turkey will stand against any movement towards its borders if it happens due to U.S. or Russian relations with YPG/PKK terrorists.
"We see that, some countries, some Gulf countries hold various meetings with Ferhat Abdi Sahin, code-named Mazloum Kobani, one of the YPG/PKK ringleaders, seeking an opportunity to use him against Turkey, we are noting this," Kalin stressed.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Since then, Turkey reached agreements with both the U.S. and Russia to force the terrorist YPG/PKK to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone along Turkey’s borders.
The U.S. has worked with the YPG in the name of fighting Daesh terrorists, ignoring Turkish objections that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.
By Burak Bir