Turkey is ready to take necessary steps if the UN-recognized government of Libya makes a request, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday, referring to the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Libya.
“If our Libyan brothers make such a request, Turkey is ready to do what is necessary,” Oktay said, speaking at a trade and cooperation meeting held in Istanbul.
On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli reached two separate memorandums of understanding, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Following the military cooperation deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Tripoli government made such a request.
Ankara administration would continue to protect the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, where tension has risen following the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves worth billions of dollars, he added.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels.
Ankara has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
"Despite all sanction threats, we have inflicted heavy blows to terror [YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria] with the operations Euphrates and Olive Branch," Oktay said, adding the government ruined regional scenarios aiming at isolating the country in the regional equation.
Reporting by Andac Hondur
Writing b Ali Murat Alhas