Turkey’s parliament on Saturday approved a security and military cooperation deal with Libya, which could pave the way for Ankara to intervene to assist the Tripoli-based government in its ongoing battle with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).
A LNA navy combat vessel stopped the Grenada-flagged ship off the coast of the eastern city of Derna on Saturday, spokesman Ahmed Mismari told our reporters. The ship was then towed to Ras El Hilal port “for inspection and to verify its cargo,” he said.
Mismari gave no further details.
Earlier this month, the chief of staff for Haftar’s navy threatened to sink “any Turkish ship which enters Libya’s borders”.
Turkey’s increasing support for the UN-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli has courted controversy across the Mediterranean and in Europe.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) premier Fayez al-Sarraj last month inked maritime and military cooperation deals.
Erdogan has said Ankara is ready to send troops into Libya if requested by Tripoli but the current military agreement would not allow Turkish combatant forces to go to Libya.
But it would allow both sides to send military personnel and police to each others’ countries for training and education purposes, senior Turkish officials say.
For the Turkish government to deploy combat troops to Libya would require a separate mandate from parliament, as it does to send forces to Iraq and Syria each year.