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Erdogan insists, ‘We will not leave Libyans to the mercy of mercenaries and a coup’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends cabinet meeting via video conference in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 April, 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends cabinet meeting via video conference in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 April, 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that his country will never leave the people of Libya to the mercy of mercenaries and a coup. He told a press conference with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj in Ankara that, “History will hold accountable all those who drowned Libya in blood and tears by providing support for the coup leader Khalifa Haftar.”

Erdogan renewed his call to prevent Haftar from selling Libya’s oil illegally and pointed out that he has reached a consensus with Al-Sarraj on expanding the areas of Turkey’s cooperation with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya. A solution for the crisis in the North African country, he insisted, has to be based on legitimacy and justice.

The GNA has taken the necessary precautions regarding the coronavirus pandemic despite attacks by Haftar’s militias, journalists were told. “Any person who poses a constant threat to the future of Libya cannot sit at the negotiation table,” added the Turkish President in a clear reference to the renegade Field Marshal.

READ: Erdogan says Turkey to increase support for Libya’s Serraj

President Erdogan pointed out that Al-Sarraj was visiting Ankara at a time when Turkey is continuing to tackle Covid-19 successfully. His government has stood in solidarity with Libya throughout the health crisis, and sent medical supplies to Tripoli in April and May.

Turkey’s priority is to establish stability in Libya as soon as possible, with a solution under the auspices of the UN and the leadership of the Libyan people. According to Erdogan, this will benefit the whole region. Haftar, he added, has shown his true face by rejecting the Libyan political agreement and declaring himself to be Libya’s leader.

Agreeing with Al-Sarraj on the need for oil exports to continue and foreign interventions in Libya’s economic and financial institutions to end, Erdogan stressed the need to lift the sanctions imposed on the country. He said that Turkey is “following closely” Haftar’s attempt to sell Libyan oil illegally and buy more weapons and mercenaries.

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