Turkish, Italian defense ministers discuss Libya, bilateral cooperation

The security and military cooperation between Turkey and Italy will serve the bilateral ties and entire region, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.

Akar made the remarks after holding talks with his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini to discuss the situation in Libya and bilateral cooperation.

“We believe that the efficient cooperation between Turkey and Italy in all fields, especially in defense and security fields, will benefit not only our countries but also the entire region,” Akar said at a joint press conference with Guerini.

The Turkish minister said they exchanged information on the bilateral relations and regional issues, particularly Libya and Syria, and evaluated the developments in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We were pleased to see that we share common and similar views on many issues. Therefore, we see that when we work together, we can do important activities to protect the rights and interests of our countries,” Akar stated.

The Italian minister, for his part, said that they agreed on the necessity to find a political solution to achieving peace in Libya.

“In the same way, we shared our vision and what responsibilities we would take regarding the eastern Mediterranean,” Guerini said. “We should work together to stabilize the Mediterranean.”

The meeting came after Akar and Turkish Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler paid an official visit to Libya last week.

Turkey and Italy engaged in closer consultations recently on the developments in Libya, with the Italian foreign minister visiting Turkey in last month.

Last November, Turkey and Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) signed landmark pacts on military cooperation, as well as maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey has also sent military officials to Libya and built up its military presence in the Mediterranean.