Top official: Turkey concerned about Libya’s territorial integrity
By Vugar Khalilov
Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin has said Turkey is concerned about Libya’s territorial integrity, Yeni Shafak reported has reported.
Speaking about the International Conference for Libya held in Paris, Kalin said that Turkey is worried about the rhetoric voiced during the meetings urging the withdrawal of the Turkish military forces from Libya.
“We are there based on the agreement we reached with the Libyan government, we have a legal justification," Kalin underlined.
He added that under this agreement, Turkish soldiers provide military consultancy and training services in Libya.
"Libya's main problem is not the departure of Turkish soldiers from there. Our first concern is the territorial integrity of Libya,” Kalin stressed.
He underlined that serious military support was given to Libyan commander Khalifa Belqasim Haftar within three years and there is no guarantee that he will not use them in the future. The West should talk to Haftar and get Wagner (Russian paramilitary organization) out of Libya first, Kalin stressed.
Speaking about the F-35 crisis with the USA, Kalin said that the F-35 program is a project established with the participation of 11 nations and its suspension has negative impacts on other countries as well.
“When the S-400 issue came to the fore, as a formula, they terminated the existing agreement, in which we were also involved, and made a new agreement. We said it was completely unfair and unlawful. Not only Turkey loses from this. The program and the countries within it also lose in the long run” he added.
Kalin said that Turkey has paid 1.4 billion dollars for F-35 fighter jets and the government is discussing to compensate the amount by upgrading or purchasing the F-16 jets from the U.S.
“Our President conveyed this issue to the President of the United States Biden in Rome. They also expressed that they have a positive approach. The process is currently ongoing. There are quite a few legal and technical issues. Negotiations continue. Will Congress block? Yes, it stands as a possibility,” Kalin added.
He stressed that Turkey, as NATO's second-biggest army, participates in practically all essential NATO tasks and that excluding Turkey would harm the alliance and Turkey-US ties.
Kalin reminded that Turkey has the right to look for alternative sources if its partners fail to provide what it requires.
“We want to resolve this issue through diplomatic channels. Turkey is just demanding its rights. We want to have good relations with the USA and Russia. There are points where we disagree with the USA, there are points we agree on. The USA needs to change its policy regarding FETO and PYD,” he underlined.
Kalin highlighted that improvement of the air defence system is significant for Turkey and the government prefers to carry out the program together with its NATO allies.
In his words, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed several times his readiness about purchasing the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system from the US.
Commenting on the Syrian crisis, Kalin said that Turkey is militarily, logistically and humanitarianly present in the region and provides security in a wide geography.
Kalin added that the international community has failed the Syrian people and there is no picture that contributes to the solution of the conflict. He reminded that the political processes such as the Geneva or the Astana process should be revived, steps must be taken and pressure must be put on the regime for the solution.
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