Turkey backs legitimate government in Libya: Envoy

Turkey will support Libya's legitimate government against Khalifa Haftar's forces, says Turkey's envoy to Libya

Burak Dağ   | 19.12.2019
Turkey backs legitimate government in Libya: Envoy


Turkey stands behind the only legitimate government in Libya, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli, said Turkey’s special envoy to Libya Thursday.

Prime Minister “Fayez Al-Sarraj is the head of the legitimate government of Libya, which is recognized by the international community. As head of the Libyan state he attends all international meetings including the UN on behalf of Libya,” Emrullah Isler told a panel discussion in Turkey’s capital Ankara.

“Turkey has taken its position clearly. We want democracy to survive in Libya and we have announced that Turkey will support this government so that the dictatorial regimes do not come back.”

Calling Khalifa Haftar, the head of rival forces based in eastern Libya, a “gang leader” who is commanding “paid murderers,” Isler said that despite the UN arms embargo, Haftar keeps getting weapons from other countries.

Turkey wants a civilian governing and democratic structure to be established in Libya, but Haftar is non-civilian, said Isler.

This month both Turkey and Libya ratified a security and military cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Tripoli-based GNA, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

In April, Haftar's forces launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the internationally recognized government, but have so far failed to progress beyond the city’s outskirts.

However, on Dec. 12, Haftar announced that he had ordered his militants to launch a “decisive battle” to capture the capital.

According to UN data, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured.

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