Jun 15, 2020 12:36 UTC
  • Turkey planning to set up 2 permanent military bases in Libya: Turkish daily

Turkey is reportedly planning to set up two permanent military bases in Libya following the Tripoli government’s operation to retake areas seized by rebel forces under the command of renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

Citing military sources, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, reported earlier this week that Ankara was planning to set up a military base in the strategic Misrata port and also use the al-Watiya airbase, located south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The report added that the Misrata facility would serve as a naval base with permanent assault and reconnaissance capabilities, where auxiliary aircraft could be stored.

Tripoli, it added, would allow Ankara to deploy anti-aircraft systems and drones to the al-Watiya airbase, which has played a key role in the Libyan government’s 14-month counter-offensive against Haftar’s forces.

Ankara will also cooperate in oil drilling and exploration activities with Tripoli, according to the paper.

“The tension and Greek provocations in Eastern Mediterranean require the presence of Turkish naval forces in Libyan territory, and that is why Misrata port will be a military base for Ankara,” the paper wrote.

The internationally-recognized government in Tripoli receives backing from Turkey, while Haftar’s rebel forces are supported by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Haftar’s forces began their offensive in April 2019 in an attempt to seize Tripoli and unseat the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

The Libyan government, however, launched a counter-offensive and has so far managed to retake most of the areas seized by Haftar’s forces.

The news comes days after Sarraj paid a visit to Ankara, where he announced victory over Haftar during a presser with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.