Unilateral actions should be avoided in Libya to ensure the Dec. 24 elections there take place in a lawful and peaceful atmosphere, said Turkey’s National Security Council on Thursday.
The international community should also oppose actors who try to exploit the Libyan election process for their own interests, said a council statement after a meeting in the capital Ankara chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey and Libya are bound together by both historical ties and security and territorial agreements signed in November 2019.
Nearly 100 candidates have registered to run in Libya’s Dec. 24 presidential elections, including transitional Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, putschist renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and former strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was disqualified Wednesday by a Libyan court over committing war crimes.
Libya’s presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place under a UN-sponsored agreement reached by Libyan political rivals during meetings in Tunisia on Nov. 15 last year.
The application deadline for those wishing to run for the presidency was Nov. 22, while nominations for parliamentary polls remain open through Dec. 7.
Libyans hope that the upcoming elections will help end an armed conflict that has plagued the oil-rich country for years.
South Caucasus region
The council statement also touched on recent developments in the South Caucasus region, the scene of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in which Azerbaijan – Turkey’s historically – liberated a group of lands from Armenian occupation just over a year ago.
“It is important for Armenia to consider the hand of peace extended to it as an opportunity, to cooperate, and to fully comply with the cease-fire” that ended the conflict last November, the council said.
After new clashes erupted last Sept. 27, Azerbaijan and Armenia were embroiled in a 44-day conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, or Upper Karabakh, which ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020.
During the faceoff, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and 300 settlements and villages that had been illegally occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
This January, the leaders of the three countries agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire Caucasus region.
In recent months, Armenia has launched numerous attacks on the Azerbaijani border area, including the area which lies on an energy route close to the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey corridor.
Instability in this region has the potential to directly affect the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline, Southern Gas Corridor, and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway – all three including Turkish territory.
This Tuesday, the Kremlin announced that the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia will hold a trilateral meeting Friday in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
“Challenges and threats that Turkey has faced and may face in the process of implementing investment, production, employment, and export-oriented economic policies in line with its objectives on the solid infrastructure it has built, have been evaluated,” the National Security Council statement also said.
The determination to reach the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 2023 with a strong economy has also been reiterated in the meeting.
It was underlined that all kinds of necessary efforts, especially along the country’s borders, will continue without compromise against terrorist organizations.
The statement also stressed that any support to the unlawful activities of KCK/PKK, PYD/YPG terror groups — which are a clear violation of international law — are expected to be terminated as soon as possible.
“Our strong support for Iraq’s struggle to clear its lands from terrorist organizations has been reaffirmed, and it has been strongly emphasized that the steps taken for combating terrorism should not lead to consequences that would disrupt social peace, especially in regions that are sensitive in terms of ethnic and sectarian balances.”
Evaluating the latest developments in the Balkans, a region where Turkey has strong historical and cultural ties, the statement stressed the importance of maintaining the peace and tranquility established with great sacrifices, and pointed out that all actors should act responsibly for this purpose and refrain from attempts that destabilize the situation in the region.
It went on to say that Greece’s insistence on not fulfilling the requirements of good neighborly relations with its aggressive rhetoric, actions, and stance that violates its obligations arising from international agreements will adversely affect stability and peace in the region.
“Powers that encouraged Greece to take further steps by supporting its attitude against international law and good neighborly relations were invited to abandon their approach that would disturb the peace of the region and take a position in the direction of justice and peace,” it said.