By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – The Arab League Foreign Ministerial meeting requested that the Foreign Ministry of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli downgrade relations with Turkey over Turkey2s Operation Pace Spring in northeastern Syria.
It was a request that called for Libya to reduce its diplomatic representation and its cooperation with Turkey but Libya rejected the Arab League’s call for such a downgrade in relations.
Ever since Turkey began its operation a week ago to eliminate terrorist elements in that area of Syria and make way for an expanded safe zone, the country has received backlash from a number of allies, in addition to The Arab League due to fears of a major humanitarian crisis and the possibility of ISIS fighters escaping from prisons there.
Libya’s refusal makes sense due to long-standing positive relations between the two nations.
Historically, Libya and Turkey have deep-rooted connections due to their cultural and historical bonds. Turkey considers the security and welfare of the Libyan people to be of essential importance. Also, Turkey was the first country to appoint an ambassador to Tripoli on September 2, 2011, after the full control of Tripoli by the National Transitional Council.
Meanwhile, Turkey has contributed to rebuilding institutions especially within the security and economic sectors of Libya. Turkey fully supported the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement on December 17, 2015, that offers a solid plan for lasting peace and stability in Libya.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu took part in the signing ceremony and Turkey fully supports the Government of National Accord (GNA) in its efforts to successfully implement the Libyan Political Agreement.
Libya’s current prime minister of GNA and Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj, made two visits to Turkey in 2018 and met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish Foreign Minster Çavuşoğlu made an official visit on December 22, 2018 and expressed Turkish support for the United Nations-led political process as well as the unity and territorial integrity of Libya.
President Erdoğan also met with Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez Al Sarraj in New York last month during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Currently, Turkey maintains close cooperation with Libyan authorities and Turkey plans to continue assisting Libya in every sector, working with the GNA while advocation for a political solution leading to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya.