Turkey signs defence deals with Libya

Libya’s Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah signed two deals with Turkey’s defence minister on Tuesday, relying on a controversial agreement in 2019, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.

Dbeibah’s administration said that the deals included “implementation protocols for the security agreement” signed in 2019 by authorities in Tripoli, eastern-based military chief Khalifa Haftar.

Libya has been divided between two rival administrations following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that removed the country’s strongman Muammar Gaddafi from power. While Dbeibah backed by the NATO controls the west, the government of former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, backed by Haftar, holds the eastern parts of the country.

Tuesday’s statement did not reveal further details, The Times of Israel said.

The 2019 deal allowed Turkey to explore gas reservoir in contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean that antagonized Greece, France and the European Union.

Following the deal, Turkey supplied drones to Tripoli-based forces changing the course of the battles. Dbeibah was thus able to defeat Haftar’s forces backed by Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

The second deal signed on Tuesday will “boost the capacity of Libya’s air force using Turkish expertise,” the statement said.

Dbeibah visited a defence exhibition in Turkey.

On October 3, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu signed a deal in Tripoli which would allow Turkey to explore oil and gas resources in Libya’s Mediterranean waters.

The deal in October relied on the 2019 deal which defined the countries’ shared maritime borders and angered Greece and Cyprus.

However, the rival administration in country’s east rejected the deal as well as neighbouring Egypt, insisting that Dbeibah’s term had already expired.

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