By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced at a Justice and Development (AK) Party meeting this week, that Turkey is fully prepared to give whatever assistance Libya ‘s UN-UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) requires to combat renegade forces led by Khalifa Haftar who is receiving support from the UAE, Egypt and Russia.
Meanwhile, Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said at a news conference on Thursday, that Libya will officially request military aid from Turkey to combat Haftar forces.
President Erdogan strongly condemned foreign nations backing Haftar: “They are helping a war baron, we are responding to the invitation of Libya’s legitimate government. That’s the difference.”
Bashagha said that Haftar is providing bases and airports to foreign countries. He added that Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria will form a joint alliance.
Libya ‘s interior minister said: “We welcome any initiative that is inclusive of all Libyans as well as any initiative that must be under the auspices of the United Nations.”
Erdogan met with Tunisian President Kais Said on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Libya.
Haftar has been attempting to capture Tripoli since April and has been unsuccessful due to pushback from GNA forces.
Bashagha deemed Haftar’s military attacks as “blatant terrorism.” Haftar’s attacks have targeted civilian neighborhoods, major airports, hospitals, refugee centers, an equestrian school and civilian infrastructure. Thousands have been killed and injured in Hatar’s attacks.
Earlier on Thursday, Erdogan said that a motion to extend military support to Libya ‘s “legitimate government” based in Tripoli will be submitted on January 8 or 9.
On November 27, Turkey and Libya ‘s GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
U.S. officials and their EU counterparts met with Haftar earlier in December to urge him to halt his military assaults but Haftar refused.