Erdoğan says Egypt's actions in Libya are illegal

Erdoğan says Egypt's actions in Libya are illegal

Erdoğan says Egypts actions in Libya are illegal

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan denounced Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on July 17 for supporting forces based in eastern Libya, after Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Libyan tribesmen who called for Cairo to intervene in the civil war.

Turkey has been providing military aid to the Tripoli-based government in the Libya conflict, while Egypt, the UAE and Russia have backed its foes in a rival administration based in the east.

Recent weeks have seen dramatic military advances by the government, which drove back forces of the eastern commander Khalifa Haftar who had launched an assault on the capital last year.

Eastern-based lawmakers called this week for Egypt to intervene in the conflict. Sisi met Libyan tribesmen on Thursday and said Egypt would not stand idle in the face of a direct threat to Egyptian and Libyan security.

Asked about the possibility of Egyptian intervention, Erdoğan said Turkey would maintain its support for the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

"Steps taken by Egypt here, especially their siding with the putschist Haftar, show they are in an illegal process," he said. He also described the approach of the United Arab Emirates as "piratical."

'Hagia Sophia a matter of Turkey's sovereignty'

Converting the Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a matter of sovereignty, Erdoğan also said. 

Turkey does not see international reactions on the reopening of the Istanbul landmark to Muslim worship as binding, Erdoğan stressed.

The first prayers will be held on July 24 for 1,000-1,500 worshipers at the same time, Erdoğan added.

Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict

"Turkey will never leave Azerbaijan alone," Erdoğan said, following recent cross-border artillery fire by Armenia attack.

"Nakhchivan is under occupation. The Minsk trio has left the issue on the table for 25-30 years," he added.