Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized the deployment of troops to Libya to support the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli that is battling forces loyal to a rival government seeking to capture the capital, the Associated Press reports.
Turkish lawmakers voted 325-184 at an emergency session in favor of a one-year mandate allowing the government to dispatch troops amid concerns that Turkish forces could aggravate the conflict in Libya and destabilize the region.
The Tripoli-based government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj has faced an offensive by the rival regime in the east and forces loyal to commander Gen. Khalifa Hifter. The fighting has threatened to plunge Libya into violent chaos rivaling the 2011 conflict that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month that Sarraj requested the Turkish deployment after he and Sarraj signed a deal that allows Ankara to dispatch military experts and personnel to Libya.
Ankara says the deployment is vital for Turkey to safeguard its interests in Libya and in the eastern Mediterranean, where it finds itself increasingly isolated as Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel have established exclusive economic zones paving the way for oil and gas exploration.