Those who took sides with putschists in Libya instead of its legitimate government were allies in massacres, says Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh in Turkish capital Ankara.
Protecting Libya's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political unity, and the welfare of the Libyan people are among Turkey's top goals, said Turkey’s president after meeting with the prime minister of Libya's Government of National Unity.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh for a face-to-face meeting on Monday before both attended a session of the Turkey-Libya High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
At a press conference later, Erdogan said that Turkey's support for Libya helped prevent the fall of the capital Tripoli as well as more massacres by putschists and helped provide a cease-fire.
"Those who took sides with putschists and the coup in Libya instead of its legitimacy, rights, and justice were allies in the massacres," he said, referring to recent conflict in the country.
Erdogan said Turkey will continue giving all support to Libya’s Government of National Unity, just as it gave to the previous legitimate government.
"Steps have been taken to accelerate the return of Turkish private sector to Libya," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey will also deliver 150,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Libya on Tuesday.
He stressed that a Turkish-Libyan deal on maritime jurisdictions signed in November 2019 helped secure both countries' national interests.
Erdogan also urged the international community to give Libya genuine support to hold its elections on December 24, as scheduled.
Libyan PM: A positive model of relations
Libya's Prime Minister Dbeibeh stressed the country’s keenness to enhance relations with Turkey to become a "positive example of what the relationship with Libya should be."
Speaking at the press conference alongside Turkish president, Dbeibeh stressed that Monday’s meeting with Turkish officials was "very important, as it constitutes the start of the work of the joint strategic committee between two brotherly countries that share many in common."
He also expressed hopes of cooperating with Turkey in security reforms and combating terrorism as well as cross-border crime.
"With regard to the agreements signed between the two countries, especially the maritime ones, we confirm the validity of the frameworks on which these agreements were built and that they achieve the interests of both countries at the same time," Dbeibeh asserted, referring especially to a November 2019 pact on maritime boundaries between the two countries.
He said Libya is pushing for a Mediterranean dialogue in which concerned countries discuss the achievement of everyone's interests.
Joint statement after talks
A joint Turkey-Libya statement released after bilateral meetings affirmed the importance of preserving sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and political unity throughout Libya.
The statement said Libya’s only legitimate leadership structures are the Presidential Council and Government of National Unity chosen by elections.
The statement also stressed the importance of holding a regional conference to support dialogue and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean to guarantee parties' rights.
Erdogan and a senior Turkish delegation welcomed Dbeibeh and his high-level delegation – beginning a two-day official visit to Turkey – at the presidential complex.
The senior Libyan delegation includes five deputy prime ministers and 14 ministers, as well as Libyan Chief of General Staff Muhammad Ali Ahmad Al Haddad.
Libya fell into chaos and civil war following the 2011 ouster of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Turkey has long supported the efforts of the Government of National Unity to bring the country together.
On February 5, Libyan delegates elected Mohammad Menfi to head a three-member Presidential Council and Dbeibeh the country’s new prime minister.