- TRIPOLI, LIBYA - DECEMBER 22: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu (2nd L) and Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala (2nd R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Tripoli, Libya on December 22, 2018. ( Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency )
Turkey’s foreign minister on Saturday reiterated Ankara’s support for Libya’s UN-backed Tripoli government as well as its stabilization and reform efforts by UN envoy to Libya.
“We support a political process initiated and owned by Libyans,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Taher Siala.
The two top diplomats held a meeting in the Libyan capital Tripoli, where they discussed all aspects of Turkish-Libyan bilateral relations exchanged views on recent regional and international developments.
Cavusoglu said Turkey opposes interference by foreign powers in the war-torn country, which is currently preparing for “fair, transparent and democratic” elections.
He said Turkey closely follows measures and reforms that Libya has taken to stabilize its economy.
“We together make efforts to develop our bilateral relations with Libya. We need to strengthen our economic relations. Our bilateral trade volume has reached $1.5 billion, and we are determined to further increase this," Cavusoglu said.
He emphasized that Turkey particularly encouraged its companies to finalize energy projects that had begun before unrest broke out in the country in early 2011.
Answering questions on an alleged weapon-laden ship from Turkey docked in the Libyan capital, Cavusoglu said that the two ministers had discussed the issue.
He underlined that a "ship loaded with weapons" was not in question and that only unloaded weapons had been found in two containers on the vessel.
"We are very sensitive on these issues and will conduct a joint investigation into the matter," Cavusoglu added.
He said that similar questions should be asked to countries sending heavy weapons including anti-aircraft and artillery batteries into Libya with the intent of "dividing the country".
By Ahmet Salih Alacaci