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Turkey Says to ‘Teach Haftar a Lesson’ if He Continues Tripoli Offensive

Turkey Says to ‘Teach Haftar a Lesson’ if He Continues Tripoli Offensive

Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 - 11:15
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey will not refrain from “teaching a lesson” to Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar if his forces continue attacks against the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.

He said Haftar had “run away” from Moscow after Monday’s peace talks between him and the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, failed to lead to an open-ended ceasefire to end their nine-month conflict.

“If the putschist Haftar’s attacks against the people and legitimate government of Libya continue, we will never refrain from teaching him the lesson he deserves,” Erdogan said in a speech to his AK Party lawmakers in parliament.

“It is our duty to protect our kin in Libya,” he added, saying that Turkey had deep historical and social ties with the north African country and that Haftar would have taken over the entire nation if Ankara had not intervened.

He said Turkey will join Germany, Britain and Russia at a summit which Chancellor Angela Merkel is to host in Berlin on Sunday to discuss Libya.

Sarraj signed the ceasefire agreement but Haftar left Moscow without signing the accord, the TASS news agency cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The Moscow talks took place after a ceasefire, initiated by Turkey and Russia, saw a lull in heavy fighting and air strikes on Sunday, though the LNA and GNA accused each other of violating that truce as skirmishes continued around Tripoli.

Early on Tuesday, the LNA declared it was "ready and determined" to achieve victory against Tripoli, the forces' official Facebook website said. It gave no further details.

The GNA and Turkey signed security and maritime agreements in November last year, angering Mediterranean countries including Greece and Cyprus who also seek to exploit energy resources in the region.

The deals have alarmed Mediterranean and Arab countries and the United Nations, which have slammed Ankara’s meddling in Libya and warned that its intervention may escalate the situation in the already unstable country.

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