Turkey says Turkey’s presence in Libya has helped keep North Africa calm.
Turkey has rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for foreign powers to withdraw their troops from Libya as a way to turn the tide over a decade of conflict.
The North African country has been embroiled in civil war since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, prompting the killing of Libyan and foreign troops.
Turkey sent troops and pro-Ankara troops from Syria to support the United Nations-sanctioned government in Tripoli while Russia and other countries backed a powerful man east of Khalifa Haftar.
Macron told an international conference in Libya in Paris on Friday that “Russia and Turkey should immediately remove their freedom fighters”.
But a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told AFP reporters on Saturday that insisting on the removal of the military was “wrong”.
“If you can name the withdrawal of foreign troops … from Libya, as the most important, as a major issue, we believe this is wrong,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.
“Libya needs political, electoral, economic support,” he said, in light of the presidential election that world leaders are expected to hold on December 24.
France has also been accused of backing Haftar, but has been adamant that it has sought to end the war.
Turkey sent ambassadors to Paris as a sign of continued displeasure with Macron’s actions.
Kalin said continuing the presence of Turkish troops in Libya could help boost stability and political security in the more affluent state.
“Our presence of troops there is in support of the Libyan army,” he said.
“We are here as a strong force to help the Libyan people. And the most important thing in terms of security is to help the Libyans establish their own Libyan National Army.”