Tripoli, Libya – National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar went to Libya with the command echelon of the TAF. National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, along with the Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Guler and force commanders moved to Libya from Esenboga Airport.

Minister Akar and TSK command echelon met Libyan officials at Mitiga airport, as well as Turkish ambassador to Tripoli Serhat Aksen and officials of the Libyan Task Group Command.

Minister Akar and commanders later moved to the Ministry of Defense of Libya. A military ceremony was held here for Minister Akar and the TAF command echelon.

After the ceremony, Minister Akar and Libyan Defense Minister Saladin Nemrush first met head-to-head and then chaired inter-delegation talks.

“The more peaceful you are, the more peaceful we feel”

At the opening of the meeting, Minister Akar began his remarks by celebrating Libya’s Independence Day.

Akar,” the more comfortable, strong and peaceful you are here, the more comfortable and peaceful we feel in Turkey, ” he said.

Turkish Defence Minister in Libya to discuss cooperation, visit troops

The Turkish Defense Ministry said Akar is there to inspect Turkish forces and have talks with Libyan officials to discuss military cooperation between Libya and Turkey.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has made a trip to Libya, two days after warlord Khalifa Haftar threatened to attack Turkish forces supporting the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said Akar is there to inspect Turkish forces and have talks with Libyan officials to discuss military cooperation between Libya and Turkey.

Turkey has backed the Tripoli-based, UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) with military advisors and material against an offensive last year by the eastern-based Haftar.

Turkey also has a large military base in al Watiya region on Libya’s border with Tunisia.

Akar’s visit to Tripoli also came after the Turkish parliament this week adopted a motion extending the deployment of forces in Libya by 18 months.

Upon landing in the Libyan capital, Akar held talks with his counterpart Salahaddin Namroush and then met Khaled al Meshri, who heads the High State Council aligned with the GNA, an official statement said.

Turkish and Libyan officials agreed during the talks to “pursue their coordination in a bid to repel any hostile” action by Haftar that could destabilize Libya, the statement added.

Turkish support for the GNA helped stave off the April 2019 offensive by Haftar, who is backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

Libya was thrown into chaos after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and led to the killing of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Wracked by violence since then, the North African country has become a battleground for tribal militias, terrorists, and mercenaries and a major gateway for desperate migrants bound for Europe.

Two rival camps now vie for power, with an eastern-based administration — backed by Haftar – pitted against the Tripoli-based GNA.

But in October 2020 the two sides struck a ceasefire agreement, which has been generally respected, setting the stage for elections at the end of 2021.

Namroush told local media that Libya was striving to build a military institution that respects international norms.

“The Turks have helped the GNA and we thank them for that. But now we wish to reorganise the Libyan army and inject new blood into it,” he said.

Akar is also expected to attend a graduation ceremony in Tripoli for military cadets who were trained in Turkey as part of the cooperation with the GNA, Libyan defense ministry sources told AFP.