Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended reasons why his country's soldiers remain in Libya by saying they continue to train "legitimate" forces, this comes in response to mounting demands that all foreign forces should withdraw before Libyan elections.
Erdogan informed Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday in a telephone call of Turkey's support for the timely holding of elections in Libya, but stressed that his country is "providing training and consultations to legitimate security forces there at the request of Libyan authorities and on the basis of bilateral agreements," according to a statement.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey expects from NATO ally Italy an appropriate response to Turkey's interest in relations between the two countries, while Draghi invited President Erdogan to participate in the G20 summit to be held in Rome next October.
The Italian prime minister issued a statement on the contact, stating that the two parties discussed the topics of Turkish-Italian relations, the situation in Libya, Afghanistan, and the G20. "The communication also focused on the political process between Libyans and the situation on the ground," the statement added.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his dismay on Thursday during a visit to Tripoli, saying: "the process of withdrawing foreign troops is not going as fast as we would have hoped." Maas explained that he intends to consult again at the UN General Assembly at the end of September with all parties "in order to increase the pressure to achieve this" he said, stating that the goal is for all foreign fighters to leave the country with the elections scheduled for December 24.