Turkish MPs approve bill to send troops to Libya

Libya has been torn by violence since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011. Reuters

Turkey's parliament has passed a bill that will allow the government to deploy troops to Libya to intervene in the civil war.

Turkish lawmakers approved the bill on Thursday, with 325 in favour to 184 against.

Turkey is allied with Libya's UN-backed government, which is based in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan government has been fighting an insurgency by forces under Gen Khalifa Haftar, based in eastern Libya.

In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US President Donald Trump warned against "foreign interference" in Libya, the White House said.

Egypt, which backs Gen Haftar, condemned Turkey's vote, saying it would "negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region".

Last week, Mr Erdogan said he would seek parliamentary approval to provide military assistance following a request by the Tripoli government.

The Turkish president, whose ruling AK Party commands a majority in parliament, was able to pass the legislation without support from major opposition parties, which voted against it.

The bill allows for the deployment of non-combat troops, to act as advisers and trainers for government forces against Gen Haftar.

But experts fear the legislation could deepen Turkey's involvement in the conflict and increase tensions with Gen Haftar's backers, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.

Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay said the bill would be valid for one year, but gave no details about the scale of the potential military deployment.

"We are ready. Our armed forces and our defence ministry are ready," Mr Oktay said.

The forces of Gen Haftar have been trying to capture the capital city from the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

Turkey argues the Libyan conflict could threaten its interests in the country and stability in the region.

BBC

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