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Turkish military to train more than a hundred Libyan soldiers

The Turkish army is preparing the government's forces for National Accord
Milicias del GNA

PHOTO  -   Milicias del GNA

Turkey has started providing military training to 120 Libyan soldiers, Defense Ministry announced Monday.

While the Libyans are waiting for the dismantling of the armed militias, which are endangering the security in the west of the country, the training is being conducted with the aim of bringing the Libyan Army up to international standards

Through the dissemination of several pictures of the training exercise, which showed a Turkish military team in the process of forming forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA), the Ministry of Defence made this training public. He stated on the website that the session was part of the establishment of the military training, cooperation and advice agreement that Turkey is providing to the Libyan Government of National Accord.

Last year, Ankara and the internationally recognised Tripoli-based GNA signed two separate memoranda of understanding, one on military cooperation and the other on the maritime borders of the Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Following the agreement on military cooperation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara could consider sending troops to Libya if the Libyan executive made such a demand.

A week ago, the ministry published photos of naval exercises in the town of Khums, east of the capital Tripoli, led by Turkish trainers from The National Reconciliation Government (UMH) military troops, and assured that they would last six weeks.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his visiting Libyan counterpart Salah al-Namroush met in the Turkish capital Ankara last month, Akar reiterated that Turkey will continue to support the GNA and added that Ankara supports the independence, sovereignty and integrity of Libya.

Reunión entre las delegaciones libias pro Sarraj (centro) y turcas
PHOTO/MINISTERIO RELACIONES EXTERIORES TURQUÍA VIA REUTERS-Meeting with the two delegations

The state agency Anadolu reported on August 17 that the defence ministers of Turkey and Qatar agreed to sign an agreement with Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli and supported by the UN, to establish facilities ... for military training and consultancy, "and to send consultants and military personnel to Libya". Essentially, Turkey will build and run a military academy to train officers for the GNA, turning the militias into a standing army. 

In June, a report was published by the website Africa Intelligence detailing the links between the private Libyan company Security Side, affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Turkish president's security adviser. Ankara, through the military consultancy firm Sadat, monitored by former General Adnan Tanriverdi, made a commitment to train the security services in Libya, which raises a number of concerns about the possibility of forming an army with strong ties to the Islamists to be employed in Libya's future plans.

Already in January, Erdogan said that Turkish military personnel sent to Libya were supporting and training the forces of Sarraj's internationally recognised government.

In recent weeks, the news of rapprochement between the two sides in the conflict, the GNA and the National Liberation Army (LNA), with the ceasefire, the intention to create a constitutional text and the reopening of important oil stations, has given new hope that the Libyan powder keg can find a solution.

Since the death of Muammar al-Qadhafi in 2011, the North African country appears to be locked in a dark chapter. Torn apart by civil war, Libya's territory has become an international theatre of war in which various foreign powers with different interests on the ground are involved. Haftar's LNA is supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France; meanwhile, GNA receives military support from Turkey and financial support from Qatar, and has been recognised by the United Nations (UN) since 2016.