Turkey has sent 35 soldiers to Libya but they will not partake in any combat, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, according to a news report published in daily Hürriyet on Jan. 8.
Erdoğan made the comments while addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Jan. 6, the newspaper said.
The 35 military personnel are only tasked with “providing coordination,” Erdoğan said, adding: “The soldiers will not fight. Other soldiers who will go there later will also not enter any combat.”
“In line with the Government of National Accord (GNA)'s demand from us, our soldiers will only provide a training for the forces subject to the [GNA] government. It will be as in Syria, and our soldiers will there provide coordination,” he said.
Turkey’s parliament last week approved a motion on deploying troops to Libya upon a request from the country’s internationally-recognized GNA.
The Tripoli-based GNA, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, has been under sustained attack since April by Haftar, whose self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) supports a rival administration based in the east of the country.
On Jan. 6, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey will send military experts and technical teams to support the GNA, but did not give any further details.
“How and when this will happen is to be decided by government, under the president’s leadership,” Çavuşoğlu said.