Updated Jan 2, 2020

Turkey's parliament votes to send troops to Libya

Photo: Turkish Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey's parliament has voted to deploy troops to Libya in support of the UN-recognized government, deepening its role in a proxy war that's also pulled in Russia and other regional powers, Bloomberg reports.

The state of play: Turkey is supporting efforts by Libya's UN-recognized government to block an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, by rebel commander Khalifa Haftar. Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and mercenaries from Russia's Wagner Group.

Turkey previously provided weapons, including armed drones, to the government in Tripoli. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a televised address that Turkish troops would be engaged not in combat but "technical support and military training."

  • He also said Turkey would not be fighting against Russia in Libya. Libya's interior minister told Axios in November that the Russian mercenaries had dramatically shifted the nature of the fighting.
  • Libya has been in disarray since dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
  • Egypt has condemned Turkey's decision. In a phone call on Thursday, President Trump warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that "foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya," according to a White House readout.

The big picture: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to go into Libya comes months after his military incursion into Syria — an example of "Turkey's growing self-confidence as a regional power," the New York Times reports. Erdoğan's foreign policy has helped him maintain his support at home as well.

Go deeper: Russia now on front lines of Libya's "proxy war," interior minister says

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Erdoğan's gamble in Libya could hinge on Putin's reaction

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Photo: Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to deploy troops to Libya, adding a new dimension to a proxy war that features foreign drones and Russian mercenaries.

The state of play: Libya has been plagued by war and instability since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

World leaders to gather, discuss Libyan conflict on Sunday

People gather at the Martyrs' Square to stage a protest against attacks of Libya's renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar's troops in Tripoli. Photo: Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

World leaders are preparing to gather in Berlin on Sunday to discuss concluding the nine-month conflict in oil-rich Libya and restoring peace and stability, Al Jazeera reports.

Why it matters: The conflict in Libya is among the most "intractable proxy wars" in the Middle East, pulling in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey, the New York Times reports.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020

Wikipedia returns to Turkey after lengthy government ban

Erdogan takes a break from updating his Wikipedia profile to catch some wrestling. Photo: Yasin Bulbul/Turkish Presidency Press Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Wikipedia is returning to Turkey after the country's supreme court ruled that banning it violated freedom of expression.

The big picture: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government has a long history of blocking information it doesn't like. It has jailed dozens of journalists, and in this case, it went so far as to block one of the world's most-visited sites for nearly three years.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020