Erdogan Says Turkey Will Take ‘Necessary Measures’ in Response to Haftar’s Threats
Head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced Saturday waging war against Turkish assets on Libyan territories, speaking of a “brutal Turkish invasion” on his country.
In an official response to Haftar’s threats, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that his country will take “necessary measures.”
In a press conference on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Erdogan said he hasn’t heard about this decision.
“If there is an order like this from Haftar, my colleagues will study (it). We have already taken the necessary measures regarding this anyway, and after this, we will take much more different measures,” he said.
Haftar ordered on Friday strikes against Turkish ships anchored in Libya’s territorial waters in retaliation to Ankara’s flagrant offensive.
Benghazi’s Benina Airport, which is under Haftar forces’ control, canceled all flights to and from Turkey’s Istanbul, demanding passengers there to cancel their Istanbul-Benghazi tickets and book another Istanbul-Damascus-Benghazi ticket.
Eastern Libyan forces loyal to Haftar will ban any commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and Turkish ships from docking in the country, LNA Spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said.
Any aircraft arriving from Turkey attempting to land in the capital Tripoli would be treated as hostile, said Mismari, adding that the same would apply to Turkish ships docking at Libyan ports.
“Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces,” he noted.
However, Fayez al-Sarraj’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said, in return, that it will continue to deal with Turkey.
Undersecretary of the Tripoli-based GNA’s Ministry of Transport said air traffic from Misrata and Mitiga to Turkey “will not be affected by LNA’s threats.”
Meanwhile, Mismari said his forces had lost 43 soldiers in the battle over the town of Gharyan, which was taken by GNA forces on Wednesday.
Mesmari accused Ankara of “directly” helping GNA forces “with its soldiers, planes and ships.”
The LNA, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country's south, seized Gharyan two days before launching its offensive on Tripoli in early April.