Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said Turkey is not sending troops to Libya but only experts for training purposes, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.
Speaking to reporters on his flight back from a Libya summit in Berlin, Erdoğan said that during the summit he was most frequently asked if Turkey would send the military to the war-torn country.
“What we said to them was: ‘We are not sending troops there. We are merely sending a staff of trainers’,” Erdoğan said. “On the other hand, Wagner has some 2,500 security forces in the field, why won’t you talk about that?” he said, referring to the Russian Wagner Group, which reportedly has mercenary fighters in Libya.
Erdoğan also claimed that it was Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s supporters who violated all agreements and carried out attacks against Libya’s internationally recognized government.
He added that he finds it “rather meaningful” that Haftar has thus far refrained from signing agreements.
Turkey has recently stepped up cooperation with the Tripoli-based government of Fayez al-Sarraj, which faced an offensive by the rival regime in the east led by Haftar, signing a military deal as well as a separate agreement on maritime boundaries between Turkey and Libya, which has drawn ire across the region and beyond.
Erdoğan said last month that al-Sarraj had requested a Turkish deployment based on the military deal, and the Turkish parliament at the beginning of January approved a motion to send troops to Libya.