Published On: Wed, Jan 15th, 2020

Turkey will not refrain from teaching ‘putschist Haftar’ lesson if he keeps attacking Libya’s government & people – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to teach Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar a “lesson” if he does not cease his attacks on forces loyal to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Erdogan said in a speech that the “putschist Haftar ran away” from negotiations being held in Moscow, and that Ankara would not hesitate to teach him “a lesson” if he continues military action against the Government of National Accord (GNA).

The Turkish leader claimed that Haftar had first agreed to sign the ceasefire before abruptly leaving Moscow. Despite the setback, Erdogan stated that he was still planning to take part in further talks on Libya.

Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, left a summit held in Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement with the head of the UN-backed GNA. The Libyan general reportedly returned to Benghazi earlier on Tuesday, claiming that the ceasefire excluded provisions crucial to the LNA.

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A fighter loyal to Libya's UN-backed government (GNA) fires a mortar during clashes with Khalifa Haftar's forces on the outskirts of Tripoli © REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
With their statehood destroyed by NATO, Libya’s warring sides should come to terms, not fight each other – Lavrov

Ankara has signaled its desire to assume a direct military role in the conflict, after agreeing to security cooperation with the Tripoli-based government. Erdogan said at the start of January that Turkish troops were “slowly” moving towards Libya to help ensure “coordination and stability” in the war-torn country.

Haftar’s willingness to participate in the Moscow talks was seen by major world figures as a breakthrough that could lead to lasting peace. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the summit was a necessary first step toward ensuring stability in Libya. Her sentiments were shared by Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who described the talks as a “positive signal” and a sign of progress.

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