Ankara ‘concerned’ over unrest in Libya

Ankara ‘concerned’ over unrest in Libya

Ankara ‘concerned’ over unrest in Libya

AKP deputy Emrullah İşler, Turkey's special envoy to Libya, ill soon travel to the conflict-ridden country. AA Photo

Turkey has expressed concerns about the escalating violence and political unrest in Libya as its special envoy will head to the northern African country in the upcoming days amid threats to Turkish aircrafts.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has reiterated Turkey’s support for Libya’s “elected Parliament,” while arguing that Turkey supports Libya’s territorial integrity, which has been riven with divisions since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Yılmaz’s comments came in response to a question from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Haydar Akar during a General Assembly session late on Jan. 8.

Akar recalled that on Jan. 7, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying a threat to shoot down Turkish civilian and military aircraft had been posted on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to the Libyan Air Force, while also on Jan. 7, Turkish Airlines became the last foreign operator to suspend all flights to Libya.

“What is the reason for the stance assumed against Turks by Libya, to which you have made great contributions in its arriving at its current situation? Might the reason be your bid for the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership or is there another reason?” Akar asked, while recalling that Turkey urged all of its remaining citizens to leave Libya amid worsening security, following the threat allegedly from the Libyan Air Force.

In response, Yılmaz quoted the Jan. 7 statement by the Foreign Ministry “strongly condemning” the Libyan Air Force statement that asserted “civilian or military Turkish aircraft that might enter Libyan airspace will be shot down.”

“It is obvious that certain figures led to civilian casualties by launching air strikes in Libya, to the demolition of the country’s infrastructure and who have violated international law and human rights, are the ones who made this statement,” he maintained.

“We, as Turkey, favor Libya’s territorial integrity insofar as we favor and defend its Parliament, which is composed of elected lawmakers. But some [circles] are virtually trying to have Libya used as a financial source for other neighboring countries through Libya being in turmoil, while almost disintegrated. We say this is not right and if there is richness in Libya, it should belong to the Libyan people,” Yılmaz said.

Meanwhile, foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said on Jan. 9 that The Turkish special envoy to Libya, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Emrullah İşler, will soon travel to the conflict-ridden country.

He will pay a visit to the southeastern Kufra district in Libya, but the schedule is not certain due to security reasons, Foreign Ministry officials told Hürriyet Daily News.

“It’s not possible to ignore the Libyan Constitutional Court’s overruling of the last general elections, nor the realities on the ground,” Çavuşoğlu said on Jan. 9 speaking at a press conference.