print
memri
January 2, 2020 No.
8454

Turkish Parliament Approves Sending Of Troops To Libya, AKP Official Celebrates: 'Libya Will Be The 13th Country' To Which Turkey Has Sent Troops

On January 2, 2020, Turkish parliament approved, by a vote of 325 in favor and 184 opposed, a bill granting the government, for a period of one year, authority to send soldiers to Libya.[1] Bülent Turan, member of parliament and vice president of the AKP parliamentary group, celebrated in advance of the decision on December 31, 2019: "Turkey is not embarking on an adventure in Libya. Turkey is doing what is necessary to be a great state. Our intention is not to rob anyone of their right in the Mediterannean Sea; we are protecting our rights... Also, Turkey is not sending soldiers to another country for the first time. Libya will be the 13th country."[2] A 2017 report by professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "Since 2014, Turkey increased its percentage of armed forces deployed from 8.6 percent to 13.2 percent, giving Turkey the world's second highest proportion of deployed forces behind the United States."[3]


Turkish troops are stationed in at least 12 countries, not including Libya. This map does not mark Lebanon or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, countries where Turkish troops are reportedly stationed (source. Ntv.com.tr).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on January 2, 2020, after the bill was approved: "The Libya bill is important for protecting the interests of our country and for the peace and stability of the region."[4] Turkish media reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump had spoken about Libya, Syria, and other matters on the phone minutes after it was announced that parliament had approved the bill.[5] On the day, over 100 Twitter users demonstrated their opposition to the bill on Twitter using the hashtag "#NoToTheBill."[6]

Turkey Has Deployed Troops To At Least Seven Countries, Outside Of Its Deployments In Cooperation With NATO And The UN

A December 27, 2019 article in the Turkish daily Yurt listed six countries hosting Turkish military bases: Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Somalia, Qatar, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by the government of Turkey. It then listed 12 other countries to which Turkish forces are currently deployed as well as the number of personnel in each country. The article described the seven countries to which Turkey has sent troops outside of its deployments in cooperation with NATO and the UN:

"There are approximately 40,000 military personnel in the Security Forces Command located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus... There are 2,000 soldiers in Somalia. Turkey's largest foreign military base is in Somalia. The Somalia School Of Warfare and Non-Commissioned Officers School, located in Mogadishu and built by Turkey, went into operation in 2017... Twelve observation points belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces have been formed in Syria and there are 5,000 Turkish Armed Forces personnel deployed there... There are approximately 2,500 military personnel deployed in Northern Iraq at 10 different regional outposts and Turkey's Bashiqa Camp... There are about 100 Turkish soldiers as well as the Azerbaijan Military High School [in Azerbaijan]... As part of the peacekeeping operation there resulting from an election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Turkish Armed Forces are providing one C-130 military transport plane and 17 military personnel... The presence of the Turkish Armed Forces in Libya is a subject of debate... There are 300 soldiers in Qatar. At Qatar's request, there is a Turkish military base in this country as well as combat forces. Up until now approximately 300 soldiers have been deployed to the Al-Rayyan base, which has a capacity of 4,000 soldiers" (see MEMRI Inquiry Analysis Series No. 1482 Turkey-Qatar Relations: From Bilateral Ties To A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, November 12, 2019).

The article did not mention Sudan's Suakin Island, the site of a 19th century Ottoman military base, about which there have been conflicting reports. Some reports have said that a agreement was made in December 2017 between Turkey and Sudan under which Suakin Island was to be leased to Turkey for 99 years for the restoration of Ottoman historical sites on the island. Other reports said that the agreement had been for military purposes, a claim that the Turkish government denies, and that the agreement was cancelled after Sudan's former President Omar Al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019. It was reported in Novembr 2018 that Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had visited the island to inspect the Turkish government's restoration of historical sites there, and that in July 2019, Sudan's former international cooperation minister Idris Suleiman said that the agreement "was not between Erdoğan and Al-Bashir, but an agreement between two states," and that it would not be cancelled under the new administration.[7]

Turkey Has Deployed Troops To At Least Five Countries As Part Of Its Deployments In Cooperation With NATO And The UN

Describing Turkish troops deployed around the world as part of cooperation with NATO and the UN, among others, the report said: "There are 250 soldiers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are Turkish soldiers there within the scope of NATO and European Force (EUFOR). The Turkish military presence in the country comprises a mechanized infantry company and liaison/observation teams... There are 400 soldiers in Kosovo. There are Turkish soldiers there within the scope of NATO and European Force (EUFOR). The Turkish military presence in the country comprises a mechanized infantry company and liaison/observation teams... There are 24 soldiers in Albania. The Turkish Navy has its Paşalimanı Naval Base on the shore of the Adriatic Sea and there are Turkish soldiers there as observers. As part of Turkey's NATO Duty Force, the Turkish ships Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and Akçakoca are located in Vlora, Albania's second-largest port city... Turkey is supporting the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon with 100 personnel from the Turkish Armed Forces... Turkey has approximately 2,000 soldiers in a multi-national brigade in Afghanistan." The article closed by saying: "It is estimated that about 50,000 Turkish soldiers are deployed abroad."[8]

 

[1] Aksam.com.tr/guncel/libya-tezkeresi-nedir-libya-tezkeresi-son-dakika-oylama-sonucu-belli-oldu-mu/haber-1034755, January 2, 2020.

[2] Tarafsizhaberajansi.com/2019/12/31/ak-partili-turan-turkiye-libyada-bir-maceraya-atilmiyor, December 31, 2019.

[3] Pwc.com/gx/en/government-public-sector-research/pdf/global-defense-perspectives-2017.pdf, November 2017.

[4] Twitter.com/MevlutCavusoglu/status/1212754319847636994, January 2, 2020.

[5] Ntv.com.tr/dunya/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-abd-baskani-trump-ile-gorustu,7ort9MU6OEyMdk4kZg9Ulg, January 2, 2019.

[6] Twitter.com/search?q=%23tezkereyehayir&src=typed_query, accessed January 2, 2020.

[7] Sabah.com.tr/galeri/turkiye/hulusi-akar-sevakin-adasinda, November 7, 2018; Yenisafak.com/gundem/turkiye-dusmanlari-sevakin-yalanina-sarildi-3468282, April 27, 2019; Tr.euronews.com/2019/04/11/turkiyenin-askeri-darbeyle-yonetimin-degistigi-sudanla-yaptigi-anlasmalar-neler-sevakin, April 11, 2019; Dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/04/26/turkey-to-remain-on-sudans-suakin-island-for-civilian-purposes, April 26, 2019; Yeniakit.com.tr/haber/sevakin-adasi-ile-ilgili-flas-gelisme-bu-erdogan-besir-anlasmasi-degil-824630.html, July 3, 2019.

[8] Yurtgazetesi.com.tr/dunya/turkiyenin-hangi-ulkelerde-askeri-usleri-var-ve-sayilari-ne-kadar-h148018.html, December 27, 2019.