Erdoğan warns against Haftar's violations
This handout picture taken and released on Jan. 27, 2020 by the Turkish Presidential Press service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and Gambia's President Adama Barrow (R) giving a press conference after their meeting in Banjul. (TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE via AFP)
East Libya-based General Khalifa Haftar, who turned his back on both the Moscow and Berlin summits, is violating the ceasefire in Libya and must be stopped if peace is not made, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters en route to Gambia from Algeria on Jan. 27.
“Haftar and his forces are playing a dirty game, and we are watching them. We will continue to do whatever is necessary,” he added.
Egypt and the Abu Dhabi administration are the most important supporters of Haftar, and Russia is in Libya with the Wagner paramilitary group.
The Abu Dhabi administration provides full financial support to Wagner. The weapons and ammunition are also coming from Abu Dhabi.
Referring to Russia’s support to Haftar’s forces, Erdoğan said it is not a good step for Russia to deploy troops (mercenaries) in Libya through the Wagner group.
“There are on average 2,500 legionaries [in Haftar’s forces]. There can be more, but not less. Who pays their costs? Abu Dhabi does. Actually, Haftar is also a paid legionnaire,” he said.
Commenting on his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Turkey on Jan. 24, Erdoğan said: “I told Merkel that you give this liar an opportunity to be pampered.”
Statement reflects Haftar’s true intent
Meanwhile, speaking at a joint news conference in Gambia with his Gambian counterpart Adama Barrow, Erdoğan referred to a statement on Jan. 26 by Ahmed Al-Mismari, the spokesman for Haftar’s forces.
Erdoğan said Mismari stated that they did not go to Berlin and Moscow for a solution, but to “explain their alleged rightful cause. This statement reflects Haftar’s true intent.”
“We hope that those who came to the Berlin summit on Jan. 19 also heard those comments and will determine their attitude accordingly,” Erdoğan said, referring to Haftar’s uncompromising attitude.
“Haftar himself especially and those with him are legionaries and is supported primarily by the Abu Dhabi administration [in the United Arab Emirates]. Money is given from there, and now also more than 5,000 soldiers were deployed from Sudan to there,” he added.
On Jan. 12, parties in Libya announced a ceasefire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But two days later in Russia, talks for a permanent ceasefire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
A week later, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a U.N.-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.
Since the ouster of late ruler 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 another in Tripoli, which enjoys U.N. and international recognition.