Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the Annual Evaluation Meeting for 2019 in Ankara, Turkey, on Jan. 16, 2020. Turkey is sending troops to Libya to support the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
ANKARA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkey is sending troops to Libya to support the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.
"We are sending our troops to Libya to ensure the survival and stability of the legitimate government in this country," Erdogan said at the Annual Evaluation Meeting for 2019 at Bestepe National Congress and Culture Center in Ankara.
"We will continue to mobilize all our means and political, commercial, humane, diplomatic and military facilities to ensure Turkey's security," he added.
During the speech, Erdogan also said that his country will start exploration and drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean in the fields that were covered in a deal signed with the GNA.
"We start exploration and drilling activities. First, Oruc Reis seismic research vessel will conduct seismic studies in the region," he said.
Turkey signed two memorandums of understanding last November, a military pact and a maritime deal with Libyan GNA's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
On Jan. 8, Erdogan announced that Turkey has deployed 35 soldiers to Libya to support the GNA in a non-fighting capacity against the Libyan National Army (LNA), the rival of GNA.
Since the uprising killed former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country has been divided between two powers of GNA and the eastern-based LNA, led by Khalifa Haftar, who has launched a military campaign since last April aimed at taking over the capital Tripoli where GNA is based.