Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is set to visit Iraq on Jan. 9, a day after Iran launched missiles at U.S.-led forces in Iraq, retaliating for the U.S. drone strike on an Iranian commander. "Within the context of our intensified diplomatic efforts to alleviate the escalated tension in the aftermath of recent developments in the region, Çavuşoğlu will pay a visit to Iraq," a statement released from the Foreign Ministry read.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy warned of the "escalation of violence" in Libya and said the EU rejects Turkish plans to send troops to the North African country. Turkey intervening with military personnel would "increase the external interference" in Libya's conflict, they said.
There will be no end to the war in Libya if we do not stop it, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, adding that Ankara is opposed to mercenaries coming to Libya. "Our aim is to establish a ceasefire as soon as possible and to contribute to the revival of the political process and to accelerate it,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the only means of solution is the political solution.
The news of Qasem Soleimani's death shocked Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, adding that the assassination was carried out a couple of hours after he held a phone call with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump. "It's very clear that Qasem Soleimani proved himself and was exceptionally valued by Khamanei," Erdoğan said, adding that "this won't end here, there will be a follow-up process."
Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar has urged all Libyans to take up arms against Turkish troops. While declaring "jihad," Haftar said that the issue is no longer a question of liberating Tripoli from militias, but of "facing a colonizer," accusing Ankara of wanting to "regain control of Libya." "We accept the challenge and declare jihad and a call to arms," he also said.
As Iran continues to mourn the death of top commander Qasem Soleimani, the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani urged the countries in the region to unite against the U.S. "If we do not take unanimous stance against America’s mistakes, a great danger will threaten our region," he told President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who pointed to the need for restoring stability and security in the region.
The European Union has expressed its “strong concern” about the Turkish parliament's decision to authorize military deployments to Libya. It has also called on Turkey to abide by the U.N. arms embargo on Libya.
Turkish Foreign Ministry has said that Turkey is gravely concerned over escalating tensions between the United States and Iran following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Qasem Soleimani by a U.S air strike in Baghdad. It said the U.S. move will escalate “mistrust and instability” in the region. The ministry also issued a travel advisory on Jan. 3, asking Turkish citizens to delay trips to Iraq amid the strained tension in the country.
Ankara lashed out at Israel, Greece and Cyprus for signing a controversial natural gas pipepline agreement on Thursday. “Any project that ignores Turkey as well as the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots will not be successful," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Despite Turkey's objections the project has received the support of the U.S. the EU.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed the situation in Libya in a telephone call on Jan. 2. The White House issued a readout of the phone call afterwards, saying: "President Trump pointed out that foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya.”
Greek President Pavlopoulos wished Happy New Year to Turkey, urging it to live in peace with Greece. He warned that “Greece is ready to face any threat against our homeland – Greece will face them prepared and united.”
Turkey's parliament has backed a motion on sending troops to Libya as part of a deal reached between Ankara and the internationally-recognized Tripoli government. While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in support of the motion, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Felicity (Saadet) Party and the right-wing İYİ (Good) Party voted against it.
An Istanbul court has ordered the arrest of five suspects as part of an investigation into ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn's transit through Turkey after fleeing Japan. Meanwhile, Turkey’s MNG Jet has confirmed that two business jets it operates for charter flights were used by Ghosn to stage his daring escape.
Turkey may hold off from sending troops to Libya if forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar halt their offensive against the Tripoli government and pull back, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Jan. 1. The Turkish parliament will hold a meeting to vote on a draft motion on Jan. 2 for sending troops to Libya.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that the government doesn't rule out the risk of Turkish troops engaging in close combat with eastern Libyan troops loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar. "The risk exists in the worst case scenario," Çavuşoğlu said in his meeting with CHP officials, who in return said that all scenarios must be taken into account before sending Turkish soldiers there.