“Turkey may send ‘sufficient amount’ of troops to Libya if Tripoli requests,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in his speech as speaking at an event held on the occasion of Human Rights Day in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
Turkey signed a military agreement last month with Libya’s Government of National Accord, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
It came after media reports that Russia had sent 200 mercenaries to support Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is seeking to unseat the Tripoli-based government.
Russia has denied the reports, but Erdoğan said: “There is a security company from Russia (in Libya) called Wagner. This company sent its security staff there.”
The Wagner Group is a shadowy private security firm and thousands of its security contractors are believed to be in foreign conflicts from Syria to Ukraine to the Central African Republic.
At the same time as the military deal, Turkey also signed a maritime jurisdiction agreement with Sarraj, giving sweeping rights for Turkey to explore for oil in the Mediterranean.
“With the new line drawn (by the maritime agreement), we will take steps to protect the interests of Libya, Turkey and the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). This is in line with international law,” he said.
Touching on the latest developments in the conflict-ravaged Syria, Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey would leave Syria when other foreign countries leave as well, not before eliminating ‘all terrorists in area’.
ERDOĞAN TO DECLINE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE IF AWARDED
Erdoğan said that he would not accept Nobel Peace Prize if he was awarded.
Erdoğan’s remarks came after the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Peter Handke, an Austrian writer who is accused of denying the 1995 Bosnian genocide.Erdoğan said Turkey also would not participate in the Nobel ceremony, saying “awarding such a killer amounts to complicity in oppression.”
The president described the Swedish Academy as a foundation which acts politically and ideologically.
Erdoğan said that he would decline Nobel Peace Prize if he was awarded one day.
Handke is known to be a great admirer of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 while facing trial in The Hague for war crimes and genocide.
“Stand up if you support the Serbs,” Handke wrote during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War.
He claimed that the Muslim Bosniaks in Sarajevo had killed themselves, adding that he never believed that the Serbs had committed genocide in Srebrenica.
Handke also visited Milosevic in prison and tried to testify in his favor.
“I am here for Yugoslavia, for Serbia, for Slobodan Milosevic,” Handke said in a 2006 eulogy for Milosevic.
In winning the prize, Handke will also receive 9 million Swedish kronor ($952,000) as well as a medal and a diploma.
– LEADERSHIP CRISIS IN EUROPE
The president said the world is led by two kinds of leaders; those who have a hidden agenda and those who do not.
He noted that U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin stand out in the sense that they are forthright.
“There is a serious leadership crisis in Europe. I cannot find the courage to say: ‘This is an exceptional European leader’.
“[…] Trump has no secret agenda, he expresses what he knows very clearly, and speaks to me very frankly, like I do.”
Erdoğan said Putin is the same as “we don’t have any secret agenda”.
“We are taking our steps loud and clear […] I believe we will establish peace in the region together.”