The head of Libya’s new interim government and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have affirmed their commitment to a controversial 2019 maritime agreement that has angered Greece and Cyprus.
Speaking following a meeting on Monday in Ankara with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who was on his first official visit to Ankara, Erdogan pledged to support Libya’s unity, its reconstruction and its military.
Turkey would also be sending 150,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as managing a pandemic hospital in Tripoli to help the North African country battle its outbreak, Erdogan said.
Libya’s interim government, which took power last month, is meant to bring together a country that has been torn apart by civil war for nearly a decade. It also aims to steer the country until a general election on December 24, 2021.
Turkey has been closely involved in Libya, backing the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the capital, Tripoli, that controlled the west, against renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), based in Benghazi, that controlled the east.
Turkey sent military supplies and fighters to Libya, helping to tilt the balance of power in favour of the Tripoli government.
Turkey also signed an agreement with the Tripoli-based government delineating the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Mediterranean, triggering protests from Greece and Cyprus. Both countries denounced the agreement, saying it was a serious breach of international law that disregarded the rights of other eastern Mediterranean countries.
“The memorandum of understanding concerning the maritime jurisdiction in the Mediterranean that we signed with our neighbour Libya, has secured the interest and future of both countries,” Erdogan said on Monday.