Ankara is taking a comprehensive approach towards Libya

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The Turkish ambassador in Tripoli, Kenan Yilmaz, said that his country takes a comprehensive approach towards Libya, looking at it as a whole without distinguishing between east and west, and supports stability and political consensus in this country.

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This came in an interview with him, in which he touched on the Turkish openness to the Libyan east and the visit of the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives, Aqila Saleh, who arrived on Monday in Ankara to hold talks with Turkish officials.

The Turkish ambassador stressed the importance of Aqila Saleh’s visit to Ankara in terms of dealing with relations between the two countries from all sides.

He added that during his visit to the city of al-Qubba in eastern Libya last January, he sent a verbal invitation to Aqila Saleh to visit Turkey, while he was conveyed to him last June the invitation of the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, Mustafa Şentop.

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Yilmaz explained that Saleh “had intended to visit Turkey in the first week of last July, but the wave of protests in Libya and then the attacks on the parliament building in Tobruk led to the postponement of the visit.”

Fears are rising that Libya will descend again into a civil war in light of the presence of two conflicting governments since the parliament in Tobruk (east) in early March granted confidence in a new government assigned to it headed by Fathi Bashagha.

The Prime Minister of the National Unity Government, Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, refuses to hand over power except to a government that comes through a parliament elected by the people to end all periods and transitional bodies.

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Yilmaz indicated that the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives “will meet with senior Turkish officials in Ankara if he has the opportunity to do so.”

The Turkish ambassador in Tripoli stressed that his country “has adopted an approach based on finding a solution based on principles and legitimacy in Libya, and supports the legitimate solutions that the Libyans also defend.”

He pointed out that “Turkey also supports the ongoing talks between the Libyan Parliament in Tobruk and the Supreme State Council,” noting that the two sides agreed on many items, leaving only some of the issues between them.

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Yilmaz stated that Turkey believes that “it is useful to form the constitutional ground as soon as possible and to go to elections in Libya.”

He continued, “Turkey’s approach in Libya is to establish stability and political consensus, and thus the rule of security and safety.”

Yilmaz stressed that Turkey “takes a comprehensive approach towards Libya, looking at it as a whole without distinguishing between east and west.”

He stressed that one of Ankara’s most prominent principles in Libya is “to avoid a power vacuum and to ensure that all parties meet and focus on holding elections instead of forming transitional governments from time to time.”

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In a related context, the Turkish ambassador said that his country “has historical and deep-rooted relations with all Libyan regions.”

Regarding his visit earlier this year to the city of al-Qubba in eastern Libya and his meeting with Aqila Saleh there, Yilmaz said that it was a “fruitful and intimate” visit.

He added that he also visited the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya in late January 2022 at the invitation of its mayor, Saqr Bujwari, accompanied by a delegation of Turkish businessmen.

He stated that, during his visit to Benghazi, “they discussed ways to resume the projects of Turkish companies stalled in the Libyan east, and to engage them in new projects.”

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Yilmaz explained that among the issues they discussed during the visit were “the reopening of the Turkish Consulate General in Benghazi and the resumption of Turkish Airlines flights to the Libyan city.”

Yilmaz touched on “the establishment of the Turkish-Libyan Parliamentary Friendship Group in April 2021 under the umbrella of the Turkish Parliament.”

He pointed out that “a Libyan delegation, which also includes members of the Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk, visited Turkey last December, while they are currently planning to visit a Turkish delegation, including the head of the Turkish-Libyan Parliamentary Friendship Group, Ahmed Yilmaz, to the Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk.”