Turkey’s main opposition party objects to sending troops to Libya: report

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Turkey’s main opposition party said Monday it does not support the government’s plans to deploy troops to Libya, saying the move would embroil Turkey in another conflict and make it a party to the “shedding of Muslim blood,” The Associated Press reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the UN-supported government in Libya asked Ankara to send troops to help authorities in Tripoli defend the city from an offensive by rival forces.

The Turkish government is expected to submit a motion to parliament Monday allowing the deployment of Turkish forces to the conflict-torn country. A vote could take place as early as Thursday.

Although the details concerning the possible deployment have not been revealed, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) made clear its lawmakers would vote against it.

“We don’t want this terrible picture that unfolded in Syria to unfold in yet another country,” Ünal Çeviköz, the CHP’s deputy chairman, told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

“We will never accept Turkey being part of the proxy war in Libya and, by siding with one of the sides of the conflict, for it to be a cause of the shedding of Muslim blood,” Çeviköz said.

Çeviköz said Turkey must instead “give priority to a diplomatic solution” in Libya.

However, Erdoğan’s ruling party is in an alliance with a nationalist party, and together the two have sufficient votes to pass the deployment motion.

Çavuşoğlu, the foreign minister, later also held talks with the leader of another opposition party to seek support for the motion. That party has not made up its mind about backing the motion, he said.

Erdoğan said last week that the government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli “invited” Turkey to send troops after the two recently signed a military cooperation agreement. Ankara and Tripoli have also signed a maritime deal. Both agreements have met with criticism across the region and beyond.

Sarraj’s administration has faced an offensive since April by the rival government based in eastern Libya and forces loyal to commander Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who is trying to take Tripoli.

The fighting around Tripoli escalated in recent weeks after Hifter declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital.

Hifter is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

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