Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has denied there were frictions between Ankara and Moscow over Libya amid Turkey’s recent moves to send troops to Tripoli’s aid.
“No, Turkey and Russia have very good channels for dialogue”, he told the Turkish broadcaster NTV in response to whether a row was brewing between the two.
He said talks had been held between the nations’ presidents and defence officials. Turkey intends to iron out any differences with Russia through negotiations, Akar added.
The Tripoli-based government of national accord has asked Turkey for “air, land and naval” aid after the rival forces of eastern-based General Khalifa Haftar redoubled their efforts to seize Tripoli.
The Turkish government wants to push the motion through the parliament at an extraordinary sitting on 31 December. It is asking to deploy troops to Libya to protect national interests.
In late November, Turkey and the GNA signed agreements on military cooperation and a new maritime border. Both sides have already ratified the deal, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 26 December that Ankara was ready to provide military assistance in the fight against the LNA.
Libya has been facing an acute armed conflict since its long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown and killed in 2011. The eastern part of the country is now governed by the Tobruk authorities and the allied LNA, while the GNA operates in the country’s west. The situation has escalated over the past several weeks as Haftar ordered his troops to advance on the GNA-controlled capital of Tripoli.