Turkey backs Libya’s legitimate government

Turkey backs Libya’s legitimate government

Turkey backs Libya’s legitimate government

Turkey cannot stay silent against “mercenaries” like the Russian-backed Wagner that work for Tobruk-based General Khalifa Haftar forces in Libya, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Speaking to reporters in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s support for the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) under the leadership of Prime Minister Mustafa Fayez al-Sarraj.

Erdoğan was in Kuala Lumpur to attend a summit of Muslim world leaders, including Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the host, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

“You know, Haftar is not a legitimate politician; the man is illegitimate. There are those attempting to grant him legitimacy. On the other hand, [al-] Sarraj is a legitimate leader. They also attempt to ignore him,” Erdoğan said.

The countries that ignore al-Sarraj include Egypt, Abu Dhabi, France and “even” Italy, according to the president.

“Now, unfortunately, there is a group Russia created, even though it is not present itself. You sure know that the United States has many similar groups, like the one in Afghanistan, formed by former soldiers,” he said.

Erdoğan added that the said soldiers in Afghanistan are being paid high prices in exchange for “illegitimately” carrying out the war in Afghanistan.

“Through the group named Wagner, they are literally working as Haftar’s mercenaries in Libya. It is obvious who is paying them,” he said.

Turkey will “of course” not remain silent in such a situation, he underlined.

“Up until this point, we have done everything in our power and will continue to do so,” Erdoğan said.

When asked if cooperation possibilities or joint moves were discussed in Libya and Syria, at the Kuala Lumpur summit, Erdoğan said that it was discussed yet “concrete results can be yielded if this is followed in a determined manner.”

“We will exhibit the determination in undertaking similar roles in the following process, just like we did in Syria and are currently doing in Libya,” he said.

“We will continue with a process without indifferences or ‘let the sleeping dogs die’ approach,” he added.

The president also conveyed that a Libyan scholar in a meeting approached him to express his gratitude.

“He said ‘You did not let us alone in there; you protected us. If you left us alone, France, Egypt and the UAE will create serious troubles for us.’ So, we praised,” Erdoğan said.

While referring to his interaction with the Libyan academic, Erdoğan also slammed the main opposition party saying: “There are actually people that know the value of this.”

Turkey supports a “political solution” in Libya

Meanwhile, Turkey’s special envoy to Libya on Dec. 19 said that Turkey can play an “efficient” role in the Libyan crisis and has took taken up a position favoring the legitimate government.

“As Turkey, we stood by the legitimate government. Al-Sarraj is Libya’s legitimate ruler, acknowledged by the international community and is the person attending all international meetings as the head of the state,” Emrullah İşler said.

The envoy’s remarks came during a speech at a conference on Turkish-Libyan relations and the Libyan crisis.

“We took up a position in a clear way. We announced our support for the continuation of democracy in Libya and our endorsement of this government so that military regimes do not accede,” he said.

Regarding the “legitimacy” criticisms by some circles after Turkey and Libya hammered maritime jurisdiction and military cooperation agreements, İşler reiterated that the government of al-Sarraj is the “only legitimate” one.

Turkey is criticizing Haftar because of their attacks “adding up to terrorism” and the humanitarian crimes it commits by launching attacks on civilians and camps.

“We are not for a military solution [in Libya]. We have been saying that there is a political crisis in Libya, and it should be resolved in a political way,” İşler said. He added that Ankara supports dialogue in this process.