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Iran Press TV

Turkey's Erdogan says Egypt involved in 'illegal' action in Libya

Iran Press TV

Friday, 17 July 2020 1:48 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Egypt is taking "illegal" action in Libya by supporting the rebels there.

"Steps taken by Egypt here, especially their siding with the putschist Haftar, show they are in an illegal process," Erdogan said on Friday, referring to the commander of the rebels in Libya, Khalifa Haftar, who led an unsuccessful offensive to overtake the capital, Tripoli, starting in April last year.

Erdogan also condemned the approach of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the Libyan conflict as "piratical."

Egypt and the UAE have been supporting the Libyan rebels against the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli, which has been able to deal major blows to the rebels in recent weeks thanks to crucial Turkish support.

Erdogan emphasized that his country would maintain its support for the Libyan government.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has formerly indicated that his country would take military action in Libya in direct support of the rebels. He said on Thursday that Cairo would "not stand idle" in the face of what he called threats to the national security of Egypt and could arm Libyan tribes against the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Some Libyan factions, including prominently the pro-rebel parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk, have been beckoning Egypt to enter the Libyan conflict militarily, like the UAE.

Meanwhile, a major battle looms over the city of Sirte. Government forces are preparing to retake the city, which is located in a strategic location on the Mediterranean coastline, and the rebels, too, have been amassing in anticipation of a government offensive.

Sisi said last month that the cities of Sirte and Jufra were a "red line" for Egypt.

Libya first plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising backed by a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan government in Tripoli and the pro-rebel parliament in Tobruk emerged in 2014.

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