Ankara to discuss Libya withdrawal if others go first - Erdoğan

The withdrawal of Turkish forces fromLibya will be discussed only if other foreign troops are withdrawn from the oil-rich North African country, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday.

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel are deployed in Libya for the sole purpose of training units loyal to the internationally recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), TRT news cited Erdoğan as saying while speaking at an event in Ankara.

Turkey supports the GNA in the conflict with opposition forces in east Libya, led by rebel General Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, among other countries.

Ankara’s military support -including drones, intelligences and logistics, and supplying of arms and Islamist mercenaries - turned the tide against Haftar’s 14-month-long Tripoli offensive in the GNA’s favour last summer.

Highlighting that Turkey is being asked to withdraw its soldiers from both the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya, Erdoğan said Ankara backed-Azerbaijan had taken matters into its own hands in the disputed region, which was "now with its owners.’’

Turkey threw its full support behind Azerbaijan in a bloody six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh last year, after which a peace agreement brokered by Moscow was signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Turkish army supplied, trained, and supported the Azeri military in the conflict, where Azerbaijan emerged as a clear winner.