Turkey has slammed Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Khalifa Haftar who unilaterally declared himself as the ruler of Libya and called on the international community to respond to Haftar without delay.
“Haftar, the leader of the illegitimate armed forces in eastern Libya, has declared that he does not recognize the Libyan Political Agreement endorsed by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2259 and is taking control of the Libyan state as the commander of the so-called ‘Libyan National Army’,” read a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on April 29.
“With this announcement, Haftar has once again demonstrated that he does not seek a political solution to the crisis in Libya, does not support international efforts in this regard, including the Berlin Conference Conclusions, and aims to create a military dictatorship in the country,” it said.
Haftar unilaterally declared himself the ruler of Libya on April 27, claiming that he “accepted the mandate of the Libyan people” and terming the Skhirat agreement of 2015 “a thing of the past.”
Haftar forces backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates had launched a massive attack against the Tripoli-based Government National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to capture Tripoli. As a result of an agreement between Ankara and Tripoli on the defense cooperation, Turkey had deployed troops and military equipment to protect the U.N.-recognized GNA from Haftar’s attacks.
Haftar forces have intensified its attacks against the GNA in recent days in order to take advantage of the world’s pre-occupation with the fight against the coronavirus.
“This person has caused further deepening of the humanitarian crisis in Libya with the indiscriminate attacks by his forces for more than a year, has prevented the procurement of the medical supplies needed by the Libyan people even under pandemic conditions with his continued oil blockade and did not hesitate to use water supply cuts as means of pressure,” said the ministry.
Calls for action against Haftar
The statement called on the international community to take action against Haftar’s intentions to establish his own rule in Libya.
“The international community should respond, without further delay, to this person, who undoubtedly exposed his intention to establish a junta regime in Libya. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that those who support him, including some countries acting as the apostles of democracy, will share responsibility for his actions in the eyes of Libyans,” it stressed.
“Turkey, with a sense of responsibility due to its deep-rooted historical bonds with the region, will definitely continue to stand by the brotherly Libyan people in defending the Government of National Accord and all other legitimate institutions of Libya established with the Libyan Political Agreement and to support the efforts for a political solution,” added the statement.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s ruling party spokesman on April 28 said that Haftar is a coup plotter, and Ankara continues to support Libya’s GNA.
“Two days ago, Haftar attempted a coup. He tries to give himself some authorities that have no legal basis. However, Turkey will stand behind the U.N.-recognized government and continue to support them for the future of the Libyan people,” Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters after a board meeting done by video link.
Peter Stano, an EU foreign policy spokesman, on April 28 called Haftar’s unilateral declaration unacceptable and would never provide a sustainable solution for the country.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on April 28 that the country opposes both the GNA’s unwillingness to hold talks with Haftar and Haftar’s self-declaration as Libya’s unilateral ruler.
Hurriyet Daily News