Turkey says its troops will stay in Libya as long as military deal active, government requests it

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, Turkey September 27, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish troops stationed in Libya will remain there as long as a bilateral military agreement between Ankara and Tripoli is active and Libya’s government requests it, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey would discuss withdrawing its troops, who Ankara says are providing military training to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) if other foreign powers are withdrawn first.

In an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber, Kalin said Turkish companies would also play an active role in the efforts to rebuild war-torn Libya, adding that Ankara would provide support to the newly elected interim government.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcud; editing by Jonathan Oatis