Istanbul: Turkey would have the right to deploy soldiers in Libya if invited by the internationally backed government there, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told state-run TRT television. “The moment there is such an invitation from the Libyan people and administration,” Erdogan said in an interview on Monday, that “gives us the right.” Ankara signed a defence agreement on November 27 aimed at strengthening forces controlled by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj’s government in Tripoli, as the Libyan capital comes under attack from eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar. Erdogan argued that the possible deployment of Turkish soldiers in Libya would not amount to violating the United Nations’ Libya embargo. Haftar’s army has said it would enter Tripoli by the end of the year.

The activity of sending soldiers in response to such a call from Libya’s national government can never be interpreted” as a violation of the UN embargo, Erdogan said. “Turkey would decide on what kind of initiative it will take if it receives such an invitation.”