East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar is violating Libya’s truce and thus cannot be expected to respect the ceasefire called for between his forces and pro-government troops, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 26.
Speaking before leaving for a visit to Algeria, Erdoğan said Haftar’s forces had repeatedly violated the ceasefire, adding that international support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) was “spoiling” Haftar.
“At this point, we need to see clearly what Haftar’s identity is. He is a man who has betrayed his superiors before as well,” Erdoğan said. “It is not possible to expect mercy and understanding from someone like this on the ceasefire,” he said, adding that Haftar is continuing attacks with all his resources. “However, he will not be successful here,” Erdoğan added.
His Libyan National Army (LNA) faction aims to capture the capital, Tripoli, through the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops. Turkey, meanwhile, backs Fayez al-Sarraj’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
In Berlin, foreign powers agreed to form a special committee made up of five military officials from each side to shore up the shaky truce. They are due to meet for the first time this week in Geneva. Erdoğan stated that he did not expect a result from that committee due to Haftar’s stance.
Erdoğan criticized Russian mercenaries, called Wagner, supporting Haftar and said the commander continues attacks upon the confidence given by the paid fighters. The president also complained that Haftar was able to hide behind the international support given during the process of establishing the military committee agreed at the Berlin conference.
Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Russia and Western countries agreed in Berlin to uphold an existing arms embargo. But the U.N. mission in Libya said on Jan. 25 numerous cargo flights bringing advanced weapons, trucks, and fighters from countries that took part in the summit have been landing in western and eastern Libya.
Erdoğan’s three-nation African tour
“We will also discuss current developments in our region, especially in Libya,” Erdoğan stated.
Through a joint statement to be signed by the two presidents during the visit, the Turkey-Algeria High-Level Cooperation Council will be established, according to a statement by the Turkish Presidency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 26 departed for Algeria, the first stop of his three-nation African tour.
“We are determined to enhance ties with African countries,” Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul before his departure.
The Turkish president is expected to hold a joint news conference with Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune following their bilateral meeting in the capital Algiers. He will also attend Turkey-Algeria Business Forum.
“We were together with Mr. Tebboune at the Berlin Conference [on Libya]. We also held bilateral meetings there,” Erdoğan said.
“We will also have the opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations in detail during our meetings with Mr. President and other officials,” he added.
“Through a joint statement to be signed by the two presidents during the visit, the Turkey-Algeria High-Level Cooperation Council will be established,” according to a statement by the Turkish Presidency.
“We will also discuss current developments in our region, especially in Libya,” Erdoğan said.
Historic visit to Gambia
Pointing out trade volume between Turkey and African countries, Erdoğan said: “[the trade volume] has reached $26 billion, a 381 percent increase in the last 17 years as a result of our efforts.”
Erdoğan’s visit to Gambia will be of historic importance as “it will be the first-ever official presidential visit to this country,” the statement added.
Erdoğan had visited 27 African countries during his terms as prime minister and as president and now with Gambia visit, this number will increase to 28.
The Turkish president’s last stop in Africa will be Senegal.
“Various agreements aimed at strengthening the contractual bases of the bilateral relations with these countries are likely to be signed during the visits. Business forums are also planned to be held in Algeria and Senegal,” the statement added.
Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdoğan is accompanying Erdoğan as well as key aides — including Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez, head of the Turkish Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın.
Turkey-Africa relations have gained substantial momentum since the declaration of Turkey as a strategic partner of the continent by the African Union in January 2008.
Hurriyet Daily News