Turkey supports a political solution, dialogue and the establishment of civil political and security mechanisms in Libya against mercenaries of militia leader Khalifa Haftar, the country's special envoy to Libya Emrullah İşler said yesterday.
“Haftar is a self-initiated actor; has no legitimacy and is committing human rights violations by bombing civilians and refugee shelters,” İşler told a news conference at the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) in Ankara.
He emphasized Turkey’s agreement with the Tripoli-based, U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and reiterated that Ankara can send military support to protect the legitimate government from Haftar.
On Nov. 27, Turkey and the GNA signed two bilateral memoranda after a meeting between Erdoğan and GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul.
One enables Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli maneuvers by other regional states. The other deal offers Turkish support for the establishment of a Quick Reaction Force for Libya's police and military, as well as enhanced cooperation in intelligence and the defense industry.
Following the military cooperation deal, Erdoğan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Libyan government requested military assistance.
İşler said after the Arab Spring swept through the Arab world, counter-revolution movements, pioneered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, were launched against the Arab people's rightful demands.
“Turkey supports the Libyan people's legitimate rights, including democracy, freedom and human rights,” the special representative added.
İşler said Western countries continue to hold onto a hypocrite attitude, fueling clashes by backing illegitimate actors like Haftar.
Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising led to the ousting and death of former President Moammar Gadhafi 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, as well as in-fighting by a host of heavily armed militia groups.
The military, pushed by Haftar's army, has allied with a parallel eastern administration based in Benghazi, marking a dangerous escalation in a power struggle that has dragged on since the vacuum following Gadhafi's death emerged. Haftar is not recognized by the international community, as the elected parliament of the country is centered in Tripoli.
Speaking on the issue at the Kuala Lumpur Summit yesterday, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey's support for the legitimate government led by al-Sarraj.
Also, international talks continue to find a political solution to the crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday in an annual news conference in Moscow that he would discuss Libya with a Turkish delegation in the coming days.
He added that he wants to see an end to the conflict in Libya and for talks between the two opposing sides to begin.
Erdoğan and Putin discussed the latest development in Libya in a phone call earlier this week.
"Russia supports all efforts by individual countries in terms of finding a solution to the [Libyan] crisis," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov after the phone call.
Also, an international conference on Libya is set to be held in Berlin in January. Speaking about the conference, İşler said that Algeria and Tunisia should also be included in the talks. “It is unfortunate that they were not called to the conference,” he said.