It’s happening: Turkey sends troops to Libya against Haftar’s forces

Turkish leader promised to teach a lesson to the commander of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who refused to cease fire after negotiations in Russia

Source: Sergei Chirikov / Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the sending of troops to Libya. They will help the head of government of national accord (PNS) Fayez Saraj. According to Erdogan, the military will maintain the stability of the “legitimate Libyan government.”

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Prior to this, the Turkish leader promised to teach a lesson to the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who refused to cease fire after negotiations in Russia.

The Turkish president called Haftar a rebel who escaped from Moscow. “If attacks on the positions of the allies of the recognized Libyan authorities resume, Turkey will be ready to teach a proper lesson to Haftar,” Erdogan warned.

A similar statement was made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He noted that without signing an armistice agreement in Libya, Haftar showed who wants war and who wants peace.

Haftar himself explained his decision by the fact that the proposed version of the document ignored a number of requirements of the LNA, quoted him as Al Arabiya.

According to Sky News Arabia, at indirect meetings with Saraj in Moscow, Haftar insisted on introducing LNA forces into the Libyan capital and forming a government of national unity that would receive a vote of confidence in the parliament sitting in Tobruk.

Marshall also called for international monitoring of the ceasefire in Libya, but without any involvement from Turkey. In addition, he demanded the unconditional withdrawal of “mercenaries brought from Syria and Turkey”.

The meeting in Moscow was held a few weeks after it became known that the PNS asked Turkey to provide air defense systems.

As reported by Reuters with reference to the representative of the PNS, in addition to air and ground Libyans also requested naval military support.

This information was confirmed by RIA Novosti, the head of the Russian contact group on the intra-Libyan settlement Lev Dengov.

Shortly before this, Ankara approved a memorandum of military cooperation concluded with the PNS, signed by the Turkish president. The corresponding decree was published in the official publication Resmi Gazete.

Erdogan ratified a memorandum of military cooperation concluded with the government in Tripoli on December 21. Prior to this, the head of state talked about the possibility of sending the Turkish military to Libya if the PNS turned to Turkey with such a request.

Erdogan and Saraj at the end of November last year signed memorandums of cooperation in the military sphere and of mutual understanding on maritime zones. The last Turkish parliament ratified on December 5.

Greece, Egypt and the House of Representatives (Parliament) sitting in eastern Libya have announced that these documents are illegal and invalid.

In particular, Aref Ali Nayed, the envoy of the head of the interim government in eastern Libya, Abdullah at-Thani, noted that

Turkish troops have been in Libya for many months, and the signed agreements, in his opinion, are necessary only for their presence to become legal.

“[Turkish ]’s troops have been present for many months, and there are Turkish drones there. Turkish experts, Turkish special forces, communications specialists, Turkish snipers have been on the ground for many months, even before these agreements. These agreements are now needed just to legitimize the presence of Turkish forces or even gain even more strength,” said Nayed RIA Novosti.

The Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky noted that the Libyan crisis must be resolved by peaceful methods with the participation of the UN, and the sending of the Turkish military there can only aggravate the situation.

“Russia has always advocated an intra-Libyan settlement by political and diplomatic means. It is necessary to continue to search for peaceful ways to resolve the intra-Libyan crisis with UN mediation and support for the efforts of the entire international community,” said Slutsky TASS.

Former Head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Colonel General Leonid Ivashov suggested that

the entry of Turkish troops into Libya will force NATO to intervene, and the Arab countries will oppose it.

As a result, the internal conflict will expand to the scale of a regional one, he explained to RIA Novosti.