By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – In the midst of Libya ‘s fight to maintain its UN-backed- Government of National Accord (GNA), Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey will not abandon Libya.
Erdogan made the remarks in Istanbul after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Turkish president reiterated that no one should be supporting renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar since he refused to sign the ceasefire agreement.
The Turkish president added that Turkey is sending military support to train Libyan soldiers and that under no circumstances would Turkey leave Libya alone in the ongoing conflict.
Last week, Haftar’s forces bombed Mitiga airport and announced a no-fly zone threatening to down incoming civilian airliners. Though the airport was reopened a few hours later, concerns reflect the fact that it’s being used by Haftar’s backers to transport advanced weaponry and other military related materials.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) has reported numerous violations of the UN arms embargo by countries that agreed to abide by it at the Libyan summit that convened in Berlin, last week. The violations include advanced weaponry and warfare equipment being delivered via Tripoli’s various airports as well as military advisers being flown in.
On Saturday, the UNSMIL made the following statement: “The mission condemns these ongoing violations, which risk plunging the country into a renewed and intensified round of fighting.”
As recently as two days ago, Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj called on the international community to take responsibility to protect Mitiga airport.
Reports from residents in Tripoli indicate a definite increase in military action and much louder sounds of gunfire, according to journalists on the ground in Libya.
At the Berlin Summit on January 19, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made it clear that there is “no military solution in Libya.” German Foreign Minister Heilko Mass said that a “permanent ceasefire” must occur in order for political dialogue to move forward.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had initially called for the arms embargo along with Guterres. In remarks to the press after Security Council consultations on Libya – Guterres said: “The pressure of the international community is essential. The role of the Security Council is essential.”