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Turkey claims that the US and Europe no longer trust Haftar

Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, 17 January 2020 [Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr]
Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, 17 January 2020 [Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr]

Turkey believes that the US and Europe no longer trust Khalifa Haftar in Libya, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has disclosed in a television interview.

He added that the steps his country has taken in the troubled North African state have changed the balance of power and prevented the ongoing conflict from turning into a civil war.

According to Kalın, the government in Ankara is making efforts to spare the Libyan people the ongoing chaos that they have been facing for ten years. He stressed that Turkey is present in Libya under official agreements and within legal frameworks; it will not, he insisted, succumb to Haftar's advocates or any other parties. "These efforts are not unilateral, but extend within the framework of collective efforts overseen by the United Nations," he pointed out.

"European countries and the US are telling us that Haftar is no longer reliable, yet they still refrain from disclosing this publicly," explained the spokesman.

Russians evacuated from western Libya after Haftar retreats from Turkish forces

In the meantime, Turkey is trying to push the political process forward to end the instability in Libya which followed the overthrow and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Kalın stressed the need for the international community to take a stand against Haftar's unlawful and reckless conduct as well as his attacks.

He indicated that his country is aware of "suspicious relations" between the US and some European countries with countries in the Arab world that support Haftar, especially the Gulf region.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu told a local television station in the southern state of Antalya that Turkey and Britain share the same position on international and regional issues, including the Libyan crisis. "Everyone admitted that we changed the balance of power through the steps we had taken in Libya.

If there are talks about a ceasefire today in Libya, then it is thanks to Turkey's efforts." He stressed that Britain, like Turkey, supports the legitimate government and the political track in Libya, and asserted that the only solution that can stabilise Libya is a political one. Haftar, he noted, should realise this.

On the ground in the North African country, government forces continue to make progress to the south of the capital Tripoli. Troops loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) have regained control of bases and sites from Haftar's militias.

Nevertheless, Haftar's forces launched a missile attack on Mitiga International Airport on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.

Libya: Haftar militias strike Mitiga Airport in capital

This, insisted a GNA statement, confirmed that the renegade field marshal was lying when he claimed that his militias are sticking to a ceasefire during the religious holiday. EU Ambassador to Libya Alan Bogia, had called on Saturday for all parties to respect the sanctity of Eid Al-Fitr, stop the fighting and resume dialogue and political negotiations.

"The government forces managed to control the missile base in addition to the Hamza and Yarmouk bases," explained the spokesman for the government forces, Colonel Muhammad Qanunu. "We continue to advance and pursue the remnants of Haftar's militia." Landmines deployed by Haftar's forces as they retreated are being dealt with by the GNA Engineers' Brigade, he added.

Haftar has not issued any statement about the loss of these sites and the latest setbacks in his campaign to seize control of Tripoli.

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