Turkish envoy slams Haftar forces' detention of 6 Turks

Turkish envoy slams Haftar forces' detention of 6 Turks

ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkish envoy slams Haftar forces detention of 6 Turks

Turkey's special envoy to Libya Emrullah Işler on July 2 criticized illegal detention of six Turkish sailors by forces loyal to East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.         

"These detentions revealed that the groups linked to militia leader Haftar, which has thrown Libya into crisis since May 2014 and has closed all the doors for a political solution since 2016, can be as radical as terrorists," Emrullah İşler told Anadolu Agency.         

İşler's remarks came a day after the sailors were released on June 1.           

Turkish citizens returned to the ship and continue to work at their own will.         

"Turkey is a state which is capable to protect its citizens no matter wherever they are in the world," he said.         

Last week, Haftar's spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari announced a ban on commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country.         

On June 30, the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli on its website advised its citizens to avoid any steps that may jeopardize their security and safety in the regions under control of the illegal militia loyal to Haftar.         

Also, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on Haftar's illegal militia to release Turkish citizens they detained in Libya, adding that Haftar elements would become a legitimate target otherwise.         

İşler stressed that Turkey wanted a resolution of the Libya crisis through political means.         

"Those who want a military solution in Libya destabilize the country, and Turkey does not want it," he added.         

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.         

Since then, Libya's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power -one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli- and a host of heavily armed militia groups.