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  • FILE PHOTO: A Turkish soldier walks next to a Turkish military vehicle during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019.

    FILE PHOTO: A Turkish soldier walks next to a Turkish military vehicle during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 January 2020

The president confirmed that that Turkish soldiers were “already going gradually” to Libya and were tasked with “coordination” at a command center.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Sunday that Ankara was already deploying military units to Libya in support of the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

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The president confirmed that that Turkish soldiers were “already going gradually” to Libya and were tasked with “coordination” at a command center.

“The goal of the Turkish armed forces is not to fight, but to ensure a cease-fire in Libya” while supporting the government in Tripoli, Erdogan said during an interview with CNN Turk, calling it the “legitimate government.”

On Jan. 2 the Turkish Parliament passed a bill approving the deployment of the country's armed forces to the North African nation, following a separate deal on sending military experts and weapons signed into law in December.

Libya has been in turmoil since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervened in 2011 to topple and kill former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The power was then split between two rival administration: the GNA based in the capital, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar based in the northeastern city of Tobruk.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia support Haftar's LNA, while the GNA is backed by Turkey, Italy, and Qatar.

Since April, Haftar has been conducting a military campaign in and around the capital, trying to take it over and overthrow the U.N.-backed government.

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