Former members of the Libyan regime of late leader Moammar al-Gaddafi issued calls on Saturday for unity to confront the “impending Turkish invasion aimed at occupying Libya.”
Ammar al-Taif, who served as tourism minister, declared before Libyans: “You have no choice but to unite and resist and abandon past disputes.”
He warned against a new “colonial plot” that Gaddafi had previously cautioned against.
Khaled al-Ghawil, advisor to the head of the higher council of Libyan tribes and cities, said that the current situation in the country demands all parties to unite behind the Libyan National Army to combat the armed groups that had captured the capital. He also urged them to unite to confront Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said the people’s priority lies in restoring the “kidnapped state”.
“Once this happens, we can return to dialogue and agree among ourselves,” he added, while defending the supporters of the Gaddafi regime, whom he said were main backers of the LNA in its operations to liberate the cities of Benghazi and Derna from extremist groups.
The majority of the supporters of the former regime back Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam to make a comeback in the Libyan political scene, hoping that he will eventually be elected ruler of the country.
Founder of a pro-Seif al-Islam movement, Abdulmonem Derna said the people were awaiting a televised appearance by the late ruler’s son, saying his speech will “turn the table against those who have desecrated Libya and insulted its people.”
“The resistance is ongoing against anyone who dreams of meddling in Libya’s internal affairs,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat in reference against Erdogan’s plans to deploy Turkish forces to the North African country.
Various elders of Libyan tribes urged the need to unite behind the LNA to counter the possible Turkish deployment.
“We must support the LNA to defend our territories against terrorist groups and their backers from beyond the borders,” one elder told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.
Tensions have flared in Libya after Erdogan announced earlier this week that Ankara will send troops next month to the North African country at the request of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
An official in Tripoli confirmed a formal request had been made for Turkish military support in the air, on the ground and at sea.