Turkey to 'teach a lesson' to Libyan rebel commander if anti-govt. offensive resumes
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 3:20 PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will "teach a lesson" to Libyan rebel commander Khalifa Haftar if he resumes his offensive against Libya's internationally-recognized government after withdrawing from ceasefire talks in Moscow.
Erdogan issued the threat at a meeting of his party in Ankara on Tuesday, calling the head of the rebel forces in Libya a "putschist."
"We will not hesitate to teach a deserved lesson to the putschist Haftar if he continues his attacks on the country's legitimate administration and our brothers in Libya," the Turkish president said. "Despite this, we find the talks in Moscow were positive as they showed the true face of the putschist Haftar to the international community."
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar held about eight hours of indirect talks brokered by Moscow and Ankara in the Russian capital on Monday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Haftar left the talks without signing a draft deal that Sarraj had already signed.
The draft deal was aimed at ending nine months of fighting between the government and the militia groups under the command of Haftar.
A shaky ceasefire had come into force on Sunday; however, both sides accused each other of violating it as skirmishes continued around Tripoli.
Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps: the government in Tripoli, and a camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk.
Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, is the self-proclaimed commander of an array of militia groups apparently supporting the eastern camp. He launched an offensive to capture Tripoli and oust the government in April.
His forces have been bogged down near the capital, yet he has pledged to continue the offensive.
The government has sought help from ally Turkey, which has deployed troops to Libya even as it has been involved in the peace attempts with Russia.
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