Turkey has confirmed that its soldiers are deployed in Libya to protect the rights and interests of the Libyan people, Anadolu has reported. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar also stressed the importance of Libya's sovereignty and independence during a meeting with Turkish officers operating in Libya attended by Libyan Chief of Staff Mohamed Al-Haddad.
The Turkish official stressed that his country will continue to stand by friendly countries to defend their just causes, rights, and interests. Turkey and Libya, he added, share a common history and values.
"There were some problems when we arrived, and we made every effort on land, sea, and air to overcome the challenges," explained Akar. "We have achieved important results, and Turkey and its Libyan brothers continue to work side by side to modernise and organise the Libyan armed forces."
He acknowledged the expertise of Chief of Staff Al-Haddad, Commander of the Western Military Zone Osama Al-Juwaili, and Commander of the Tripoli Region Abdel Baqi Marwan, who have "contributed greatly" to the success of Turkish operations in Libya.
"The important thing now is to achieve peace and calm in Libya and ensure the continuation of the ceasefire. We have not and will not forget the death of 26 young men in the Military College and the mass graves in Tarhuna. We will do what we can, including training, assistance, and consultation, but our top priority is to restore normal life and clear areas of explosive devices and mines."
The minister noted that around 4,400 explosive devices have been neutralised, and that Turkey has provided medical services, including more than 10,000 medical checks and treatments for the Libyans. He stressed the need to support the Libyan government headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, indicating that all of the parties involved will do their best to maintain calm in Libya until the election in December.
Moreover, he confirmed that the Turkish presence in Libya is very important in terms of protecting Ankara's interests and rights in the eastern Mediterranean. For this, the maritime agreement signed with Tripoli is important, and Greek efforts to nullify it "are futile".
Akar touched on issues such as Cyprus, northern Iraq, and Syria. A two-state solution is the only way forward in Cyprus, he insisted, while pointing out that Turkey has sought to end the scourge of terrorism in Iraq and Syria in order to help life return to normal as much as possible.
Turkey not only hosts four million Syrian refugees but is also responsible for five million Syrian citizens in northern Syria. "Ankara is doing everything it can to give them their lives back by ensuring their basic needs in healthcare, education, roads, electricity, and drinking water."