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Libya, Turkey discuss bilateral relations in further sign of deepening cooperation 

December 17, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives Libyan delegation led by Fawzi al-Nuwayri, first deputy speaker of House of Representatives, at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on 15 December 2021. [Murat Kula – Anadolu Agency]

A Libyan delegation headed by Fawzi Al-Nuwairi, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss bilateral relations on Wednesday in Ankara.

The meeting was organised by the Libya-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group, and attended by Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, and Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun.

Discussions included the reopening of Turkey’s Consulate General in Benghazi, which was closed in 2014 due to security concerns. Turkey was one of the last countries with a diplomatic presence in Benghazi after intense fighting broke out in the city. Other issues on the agenda included the resumption of flights between Turkey and Benghazi. Head of the Libya-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group, Ahmet Yildiz, also underscored Turkey’s continued support to Libya as it works to uphold stability and ahead of the presidential election, set for 24 December.

The meeting, which marks the first time Al-Nuwairi has taken a delegation to Turkey, follows a period of increased cooperation between the two countries in the lead up to the elections.

READ: Turkish nationals held in Libya for almost two years re-united with families

On 3 December, Turkish officials and a delegation of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) met in Ankara upon the request of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC). According to a statement released by the Turkish ministry, JMC provided information on a comprehensive Action Plan for the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and forces from Libya, which was signed earlier this year in Geneva.

Elsewhere, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated the government’s commitment to upholding peace and stability in Libya during a parliamentary session held on 14 December.

The head of Turkey-Libya Business Council Murtaza Karanfil also announced on 11 December that bilateral trade between the two countries is set to reach $3 billion by the end of 2020. Karanfil told DHA News Agency: “Economic relations between the two countries should progress faster.”

Relations between Turkey and Libya have warmed over recent years, notably cemented by the signing an agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea and a deal on expanded security and military cooperation in November 2019. Under this accord with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Turkey deployed troops in 2020 to Libya to fend off an assault by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces.