By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – On Friday, scores of Libyans in Tripoli and Misrata took to the streets to protest self-styled commander Khalifa Haftar who opposes the UN-backed, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Protesters expressed their support for Turkey while protesting against Egypt, the UAE and France who all support Haftar. In Misrata, banners and signs thanking Turkey for its support against Haftar were being waved. The protesters made it clear that they have no desire to see another military regime.
Haftar has positioned himself as a military dictator who has attempted since April, to invade Tripoli. Earlier this week, the GNA accused Haftar of inviting foreign forces to use Libya’s airports.
Since Haftar began attacks on suburbs on the outskirts of Tripoli as well as in eastern and western Libya, over 5,000 civilians have been killed with many more injured. Those surprise attacks are the reason for the airport shutdowns as well as hospital closures.
On November 27, Turkey and Tripoli’s GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the latest development, Libya announced it would request military support from Turkey. Turkish President Erdogan previously announced that his government is ready to provide Libya with whatever assistance it needs to combat Haftar’s military offensive.
On Thursday, Erdogan said he plans to submit a document to the parliament on January 8 or 9 requesting military support for Libya.
Meanwhile, on December 12, Haftar renewed his threat to invade Tripoli. Top U.S. officials and their European counterparts met with Haftar earlier in December urging him to.halt his military offensive.
Libya’s interior minister announced this week that a joint alliance was planned between Turkey, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian presidency has denied they had any plans to join an alliance and stated it wants to maintain its neutral status.
Erdogan suggested that Tunisia, Algeria and Qatar participate in the Berlin Conference on the Libyan crisis to take place in January. Erdogan was quoted as saying Tunisia could have a “valuable and constructive contribution” in restoring stability in Libya.
Tunisia’s press office insists that it’s country’s position remain neutral and has no plans to participate in any type of coalition. Tunisia also denounced statements made by Libya ‘s Minister of the Interior, Fathi Bashagha regarding a joint alliance.