Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Erdogan Stresses Ongoing Turkish Support for Libya’s Sarraj

Erdogan Stresses Ongoing Turkish Support for Libya’s Sarraj

Wednesday, 22 April, 2020 - 11:15
File photo: GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his country’s ongoing support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

He said this support will continue until the defeat of “Khalifa Haftar’s militias,” in reference to the Libyan National Army.

Erdogan discussed the developments in Libya during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) central executive committee meeting, which was held via video conference on Tuesday.

He said his country “will continue to do all what is necessary to preserve its interests in the Mediterranean region.”

The President described Haftar as a “coupist,” urging the international community to support Sarraj.

The “battlefield gains” made by the “legitimate government” in Libya “reveals Haftar’s true face,” he stressed.

Turkey is the major foreign supporter for the GNA and its militias, and Haftar accuses it of backing terrorism in his country.

On Friday, it transferred weapons and Syrian mercenaries to Libya.

The unusual aircraft activity forced Turkey's defense ministry to announce that its vessels and fighter jets will perform drills in the area.

“Itamilradar,” a website that tracks military flights, reported that three jets were detected as they flew towards western Libya in what was described as a “major mission”.

In a series of tweets, the website said the aircraft may have been transporting fighters or weapons from Turkey to Libya.

“At least three Boeing KC-135R, one Boeing E-7T and one Lockheed C-130E are in flight. This one is the only still trackable and it seems in flight to western Libya,” it revealed.

The GNA and Turkey signed in November a security and military Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost military and security bilateral cooperation. The MoU highlighted military training, counter-terrorism, and illegal migration.

Also Tuesday, Greece announced that its airforce has intercepted Turkish warplanes on their way to Libya, adding that at least 16 F-16s were heading to the country on Friday.

Editor Picks