High profile military agreement signed by Erdogan, Libya’s Sarraj

High profile deal came amid media reports about delivery of military equipment to forces loyal to the Government of National Accord.

Turkey signed a military agreement with Libya’s UN-recognised government November 27 following a meeting between the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, his office said.

The High profile deal came amid media reports about delivery of military equipment to forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) as it tries to repel an offensive launched last April by Libya’s National Army (LNA) with the purpose of taking the Libyan capital. Diplomats say Ankara has in the past supplied drones and trucks to Sarraj’s forces. Delivery of weapons to Libya runs against a UN arms embargo.

Erdogan met with Sarraj to sign agreements on security and military cooperation, as well as maritime jurisdictions.

“We are confident that we will improve the security situation for the Libyan people together,” Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, wrote on Twitter.

He called on other countries to support the GNA.

“The (security) agreement establishes training and education, structures the legal framework and strengthens the ties between our militaries,” Altun said in a tweet.

The deal comes despite calls from the Arab League — which includes Libya — to end cooperation with Turkey in protest over its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria in October.

The LNA has accused the Sarraj government of being supported by Islamic militants and various armed militias.

Ankara and the Sarraj government also signed an agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean.

There were no immediate details on the maritime accord, which could further complicate disputes over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean where Turkish drilling has angered Greek Cypriots, Athens and the European Union.

EU foreign ministers agreed on economic sanctions against Turkey to punish it for drilling off the coast of Cyprus in violation of a maritime economic zone established off the divided island.

The dispute pits Turkey against several eastern Mediterranean states that have agreed maritime and economic zones with Greece and Cyprus, leaving Ankara searching for allies in the region.

Altun’s office said in a statement that the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the “delimitation of maritime jurisdictions,” which aims to protect the two countries’ rights under international law.

In June, the LNA said it had cut all ties with Turkey and that all Turkish commercial flights or ships trying to access Libya would be treated as hostile.

Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, allied with the LNA, called the deals “a flagrant breach” of Libya’s security and sovereignty.

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