Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh of Libya's internationally-recognized government, pose for photos prior to their meeting in Istabul, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021. AP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked the Libyan unity government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah to pay a debt of 5 billion dinars for companies that were operating in the North African state, sources told Sky News Arabia late Sunday.
According to the sources, Erdogan spoke with Dbeibah about the issue during a closed meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara. This came ahead of a formal session where delegations from both sides sat together.
This is not the first time that Turkey has asked for the money, according to the sources, which say that it is related to “compensations” or “price of weapons.”
For years, Turkey – along with thousands of mercenaries – has provided political and military support to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Tobruk government, which received the support of commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France, and Russia.
Last August, a UN-sponsored peace process resulted in a ceasefire between rival authorities in Tripoli and Tobruk that ended a six-year split.
In June, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Erdogan vowed to withdraw foreign mercenaries from Libya.
"We agreed to work on this withdrawal [of foreign mercenaries]. It does not just depend on the two of us. But I can tell you President Erdogan confirmed during our meeting his wish that the foreign mercenaries, the foreign militias, operating on Libyan soil leave as soon as possible," Macron told reporters after a NATO summit in Brussels.