Turkey warns it will target Libya’s Haftar as commander receives air support from Russia

Turkey warns it will target Libya’s Haftar as commander receives air support from Russia

Turkey warns it will target Libya’s Haftar as commander receives air support from Russia

Turkey said it won’t bow to threats by Libya’s Khalifa Haftar to launch airstrikes against Turkish targets in the country amid reports that Russia is providing air support to the Libyan commander.

“We will respond to any attack on our missions and interests in the strongest way and stress once again that we will consider Haftar elements as legitimate targets,” presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told Bloomberg.

“Turkey has openly displayed its will to bring an end to instability in Libya that is fueling terrorism, causes civilian casualties as well as great damage to the country’s economy,” he stated.

In a separate statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said any attack on Turkish interests by Haftar forces would have “grave consequences” for the commander.

“It is striking that the threats by Haftar militias to attack Turkish forces and interests come in the wake of deployment of new warplanes in eastern Libya by foreign support,” Aksoy said.

“This statement, which is a reflection of the delirium of the losses of elements loyal to Haftar in the field in the recent period, is the clearest indication that the putschist Haftar and his supporters intend to escalate the conflict in Libya,” the
spokesperson said.

“On this occasion, we remind once again that if Turkish interests in Libya are targeted, this will have severe consequences and we will consider the putschist Haftar elements as legitimate targets,” said the statement.

Russia sent at least eight warplanes to renegade commander Haftar, Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha has said.

Russia delivered at least six Soviet-made Mig-29 and two Sukhoi 24s warplanes from its base in Syria’s Khmeimim to Haftar, Bashagha told Bloomberg.

Citing Haftar’s air force chief Saqr al-Jaroushi, the U.S. news outlet said that Haftar’s forces are set to launch “the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history in the coming hours.”

Çavuşoğlu discussed Libya with his Russian counterpart

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and discussed the developments in Libya. In his statement on the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the two ministers emphasized the importance of immediately stopping military activities in Libya and restarting the political process under the auspices of the UN with the absolute participation of all Libyan parties.

Turkey backs the GNA, Libya’s internationally recognized government, and has signed a military cooperation agreement to help it repel Haftar’s offensive. Ankara has repeatedly urged world powers to stop supporting Haftar’s forces, which it deems as “putschists.”

Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, who has targeted the government for over a year now, intensified attacks on civilians in May.