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memri
December 26, 2019 No.
8437

Turkish President Erdoğan: 'As Soon As Our Parliament Opens' On January 7, 'We Will Present A Bill On Sending Soldiers' To Libya

On December 26, 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech in Ankara at the AKP Extended Meeting Of Provincial Heads: " Now they [unclear who is addressed] are screaming and shouting: Do whatever you want, we gave our signatures and finished the job... They say: 'Are you going to send soldiers [to Libya]?'... We will go where we are invited. But we will not go where we are not invited. Since now there is such an invitation, we will answer it favorably... Inshallah, as soon as parliament opens, we will present a bill on sending soldiers. With the approval of our parliament, we will be able to support the legitimate government of Libya in a much more effective way... We will pass it on the 8th or the 9th [of January]."[1] Turkish parliament is in recess and is scheduled to open on January 7, 2020.[2] Reuters reported on December 26 that a Tripoli official had said that the Tripoli-based Libyan government had formally requested "air, ground and sea" military support from Turkey.[2]


President Erdoğan spoke in Ankara on December 26.

Turkey's AKP government has over the past year shipped drones, armored vehicles, "laser weapons," and other arms and ammunition to Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and has also trained GNA military and police personnel (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8395 Violating UN Arms Embargo, Turkey's AKP Government Ships Armed Drones, Armored Vehicles, 'Laser Weapons,' Other Arms And Ammunition To Pro-Islamist Government In Libya, Trains Libyan Military And Police Personnel, December 6, 2019).

"We Decided To Cooperate With Tunisia, With Which We Are Of One Mind, To Give Political Support To The Legitimate Government"

Mentioning his December 25 visit to Tunisia, Erdoğan said: "We visited President Kais Saied at this level for the first time. We had meetings face-to-face and with committees. We talked, along with the other relations between our country and Tunisia, about the Libya issue from top to bottom. On the matter of the stability of Libya, we decided to cooperate with Tunisia, with which we are of one mind, to give political support to the legitimate government in the country [i.e., the Tripoli-based government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj]."

Referring to the recent diplomatic efforts led by the government of Germany to end the fighting in Libya, President Erdoğan said: "As Turkey, we are insisting that Tunisia, Algeria, and Qatar [be allowed to participate in] the Berlin Process. I shared this [view] with the honorable [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, with [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson, and with [German] Chancellor Merkel... The chancellor said: 'I will evaluate it.' However, on the other side, I saw that Putin and Boris Johnson thought just as we do... I believe that in the future we will find the opportunity to be in a much more deep and wide cooperation with [Tunisia]." He commented that Tunisia's position as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to begin on January 1, 2020, would be very valuable for Turkey.

It should be noted that on December 26, the Presidency of Tunisia released a statement amid media coverage of Erdoğan's visit to Tunisia, saying: "The national territory can only be under Tunisian sovereignty."[4]

"Libya Is The Memento Of Both The Ottoman Empire And Of Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk]"

Connecting Turkey's current activity in Libya to the Ottoman Empire and to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, Erdoğan said: "To us, Libya is the memento of both the Ottoman Empire and of Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk]... Mustafa Kemal, in 1911, organized our Libyan brothers in Tripoli, Derna, and Benghazi against the occupation forces, and fought alongside them against [the occupation forces]. In fact, in the battles in Derna, he was wounded in the eye, and famously carried the mark [of this wound] throughout his life. Are you aware [of this], Mr. Kemal [Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the opposition CHP]?" Erdoğan said that the Turkey-Libya agreement of November 27, 2019, which changed the jurisdiction of the waters between Turkey and Libya, was entirely in accordance with international law and that "our intention with this agreement is not to steal the right of anyone in the Mediterranean Sea; on the contrary, it is to keep our right from being stolen. Because if we had not taken this step, a game was being cooked up to keep Turkey imprisoned in its shores."


(Source: Arabi21.com).

"We Are Determined To Do Everything Necessary To Protect The Right Of Our Country And Of Our Brothers And Sisters Who Live In The Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus"

On the matter of natural gas drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, President Erdoğan said in his December 26 speech: "We are determined to do everything necessary to protect the right of our country and of our brothers and sisters who live in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus." Concerning the opposition of Turkey's CHP to Turkey's search for oil and natural gas in the waters around Cyprus, Erdoğan said: "The position of the opposition gave the Greek media a lot of material. In Turkey we have made almost everything domestically; it is only on the matter of the main opposition that we could not accomplish this. Inshallah, we will accomplish this together with our nation." Over the past year, the government of Turkey has been expanding its efforts to drill for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8372 Following Announcement Of EU Sanctions Over Turkish Drilling In Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey Doubles Down, November 19, 2019).

Northern Syria: Turkish Military Has Secured 3,166 Square Miles Of Territory In Northeast Syria; "If The Necessary Support Is Not Given To Turkey's Efforts In Idlib, Everyone Will Pay The Price Of The Results Of What Happens"

President Erdoğan said that as a result of its most recent invasion of northern Syria, which began on October 9, 2019, a total of 8,200 square kilometers, or about 3,166 square miles, had been cleared of "terror." He also said that the promises made by other countries to remove the terror organizations from a particular section of Syria had not been kept and that "disturbances" continued from time to time in the areas in which the Turkish military was active outside of the region within 30 kilometers of the Turkey-Syria border.


An unofficial Turkish website marks in dark green the area in northeast Syria under Turkish military control (source: Tskmap.net).

Saying security was required in order to begin the settlement areas that had been planned for the region, President Erdoğan said that "we are decisive in taking every step in this direction. On the other hand, the situation in Idlib is much more concerning. The regime's attacks and disturbances are making a permanent ceasefire in the area impossible. Close to 100,000 people fleeing these attacks have moved toward our border. We told the whole world, and above all, Europe, that we did not have the ability to endure another wave of refugees. We said that if the necessary support is not given to Turkey's efforts in Idlib, everyone will pay the price of the results of what happens. The countries of Europe need to get to work in providing tranquility to Idlib, in which close to four million people live."

In saying so, Erdoğan was reiterating his December 22 statement that "eighty thousand of our brothers and sisters from Idlib have started to migrate toward our borders. If the savagery toward the people of Idlib does not stop, this number will increase. In such a situation Turkey will not carry this burden of migration by itself. All European countries, above all, Greece, will feel the negative reflections of the pressure to which we will be exposed. In such a situation, a repeat of what happened before the March 18 concord will be unavoidable" (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8433 Turkish President Erdoğan Again Threatens To Push Refugees Into Europe: 'All European Countries – Above All, Greece – Will Feel' The Pressure Turkey Feels, December 24, 2019).

Erdoğan Quotes Islamist Poet Whose Ideas Gave Rise To Jihadi Group Known For Attacks On U.K., U.S. Consulates In Istanbul And Other Targets

Discussing construction projects in Turkey, including the large-scale Kanal Istanbul, planned as an alternative canal to the Bosporus, Erdoğan recited the first verse of a poem by Turkish poet, novelist, playwright, and Islamist ideologue Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, called "My Dear Istanbul."[5] Kısakürek, who lived from 1904 to 1983 published a magazine on and off from 1943 to 1978 called Büyük Doğu ("Great East"), which was reportedly the only Islamist magazine of that period. He was a pioneer of the Büyük Doğu Islamist political movement and served nine months and 12 days in prison for provoking the 1952 attempted assassination of Ahmet Emin Yalman, then owner and editor-in-chief of the secular Vatan daily. His ideas gave rise to a jihadi organization, İslami Büyük Doğu Akıncılar Cephesi ("Islamic Great East Raiders' Front," IBDA-C).


Erdoğan quoted Necip Fazıl Kısakürek (left), whose ideas gave rise to IBDA-C, which Salih Mirzabeyoğlu (right) led.

A Record Of Terrorist Attacks By IBDA-C

In November 2003, IBDA-C blew up two synagogues in Istanbul, killing 20.[6] A week later it blew up an HSBC bank branch in Istanbul and the British Consulate, killing 27, including British Consul-General Roger Short,[7] and wounding 450. At least one of its members was arrested in relation to a July 2008 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul that killed three.[8] In September 1997, members of the organization carried out an attack at a book fair on a stand selling Christian books; a small child was killed in the attack.[9] In 1999, the group assassinated a former Turkish minister of culture.[10] A September 2014 editorial titled "ISIS, You [Fight] From There, We'll [Fight] From Here!"[11] in the IBDA-C-affiliated Adımlar magazine[12] urged readers not to oppose the Islamic State (ISIS) in its "resistance" to U.S. forces. Salih Mirzabeyoğlu, whose real name was Salih İzzet Erdiş, led IBDA-C until he was arrested in 1998 and sentenced in 2001 to death for "attempting to change the constitutional order by force." His sentence was later commuted to life in prison.[13]

 

[1] Amerikaninsesi.com/a/libya-tezkeresi-8-9-ocak-ta-tbmm-ye-gidiyor/5220724.html, December 26, 2019; Tccb.gov.tr/haberler/410/114102/-akdeniz-deki-amacimiz-kimsenin-hakkini-hukukunu-gasbetmek-degil-hakkimizin-gasbedilmesine-engel-olmaktir-, December 26, 2019; Youtube.com/watch?v=LUDuGO_wPyw, December 26, 2019.

[2] Hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/meclis-ne-zaman-acilacak-tbmmde-yeni-donem-ne-zaman-baslayacak-41406408, December 7, 2019.

[3] Reuters.com/article/us-turkey-libya-request/libya-makes-formal-request-for-turkish-military-support-official-idUSKBN1YU158, December 26, 2019.

[4] Tap.info.tn/en/Portal-Politics/12166341-presidency-of, December 26, 2019.

[5] Antoloji.com/canim-istanbul-siiri, August 19, 2000.

[6] Amerikaninsesi.com/a/a-17-a-2003-11-15-9-1-87907652/811932.html, November 15, 2003.

[7] Hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/istanbul-cehennem-gibi-184782, November 20, 2003.

[8] Radikal.com.tr/turkiye/amerikan-kalesine-kafa-karistiran-bir-saldiri-887642, July 10, 2008.

[9] Hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/bebek-olduren-bomba-ibda-c-nin-39264634, September 16, 1997.

[10] Sabah.com.tr/1999/10/22/g05.html, October 22, 1999.

[11] Adimlardergisi.com/isid-sen-oradan-biz-buradan, September 9, 2014.

[12] Diken.com.tr/ibda-cye-yakinligiyla-bilinen-adimlar-dergisinde-patlama-dort-yarali, March 25, 2015.

[13] Ahaber.com.tr/gundem/2018/05/16/28-subat-zulmunun-sembol-ismi-salih-izzet-erdis-vefat-etti, May 16, 2018.