Turkey harshly condemns threat from ‘Libyan Air Forces’
ANKARAThe Turkish Foreign Ministry has “harshly condemned” a statement allegedly released by the Libyan Air Forces threatening that all Turkish civilian and military planes would be shot down if they entered Libyan airspace.
The ministry statement released on Jan. 7 noted that the statement was posted on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to “the Libyan Air Forces.” The statement used the title “Libyan Air Forces” within quotation marks.
“It is obvious that those who released this statement are from certain groups who have caused civilian losses and the demolition of the country’s infrastructure by launching air strikes in Libya, and who have violated international law and human rights,” the ministry said, without naming those specific circles.
Ankara pointed the finger at the international community, maintaining that the absence of sufficient and required action against these air strikes “no doubt encouraged those who made this statement.”
A day before the ministry’s statement, Turkish Airlines, the last remaining foreign carrier offering flights to Libya, announced that it is suspending all flights to the conflict-wracked country as the security situation deteriorates.
The Turkish flag-carrier said it has suspended flights to Misrata, its only remaining destination in Libya, after it had earlier pulled its flights to the capital, Tripoli, as well as Benghazi and the inland desert city of Sebha.
The ministry underlined how civilian flights contributed to meeting humanitarian assistance and economic needs for the “fraternal Libyan people during this difficult time.”
Turkey has taken the necessary reactive initiatives and made contact with the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino Leon, the ministry said.