The Address | Benghazi – Libya
ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the European Union’s decision to launch a new maritime effort focused on enforcing the U.N arms embargo around Libya, accusing European nations that agreed to launch the new operation of “interfering in the region,” according to Associated Press.
EU foreign ministers had agreed earlier this week to end Operation Sophia, the bloc’s naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea, and launch a new maritime effort focused more on the implementation of the U.N. arms embargo around Libya.
Operation Sophia was set up in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants headed across the sea from North Africa to Europe. Its aim was to crack down on migrant smugglers, but also to enforce the arms embargo, which is routinely being flouted.
Erdogan said If a fair agreement cannot be reached in international talks, Turkey will support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in taking control of the whole country.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (Muslim Brotherhood Party) group meeting in capital Ankara, Erdoğan said Turkey continues to side with GNA in Tripoli, according to Daily Sabah newspaper.
It is noteworthy that Turkey has provided GNA with drones, vehicles and weapons, in addition to military experts, as it transfered more than 4,000 mercenaries from Syria to Libya, some of whom have ideological links to terrorist organizations such as al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeds, to fight along the militia coalition allied with GNA against the Libyan National Army (LNA), which launched a military operation last April to liberate Tripoli from the militias.