Turkish MPs approve bill to send troops

Turkey’s parliament has passed a bill that will allow the government to deploy troops to Libya to intervene in the civil conflict.

Turkish lawmakers passed the bill on Thursday, with 325 in favour to 184 against.

Turkey is allied with Libya’s UN-backed government, which is based in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan government has been fighting an insurgency by forces under Gen KhalifaHaftar, based in eastern Libya.

Egypt, which backs Gen Haftar, condemned Turkey’s vote, saying it would “negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region”.

Last week, Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan said he would seek parliamentary approval to provide military assistance following a request by the Tripoli government.

The bill allows for the deployment of non-combatant troops, to act as advisers and trainers for the Tripoli government forces against Gen Haftar.

The forces of Gen Haftar have been trying to capture the capital city.

Turkey argues the Libyan conflict could threaten its interests in the country.

Ankara risks becoming even more deeply embroiled in Libya’s civil conflict and its decision to deploy troops marks a new stage in the internationalisation of the conflict.

Turkey has already supplied armoured vehicles to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli and also operates drones on its behalf.

Turkish troops will apparently be deployed in a “training and advisory” role. But this is a highly flexible description. If the Tripoli government has its back to the wall, then Turkey may be compelled to take a more direct hand in the fighting.

The Tripoli government’s main opponent – Gen KhalifaHaftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) – is backed by Egypt, Jordan and crucially the UAE. It has received direct support on the ground from semi-official Russian military contractors and from Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries.

Turkey recently signed an economic agreement with Tripoli on energy exploration. -CNN

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