Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused general Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), of showing “no intention for reconciliation” to find a political solution in the conflict-ridden Libya and said he “got spoiled” after having received support from a number of countries.
“The support putschist Haftar was given has spoiled him. The reason why we support the current government in Libya is to prevent bloodshed. We are determined not to leave our Libyan brothers alone in their difficult days. To provide support for the Government of National Accord [GNA] is not a preference, but an obligation as per the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2259,” Erdoğan said on Jan. 24.
Speaking in Istanbul after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Erdoğan said that countries which attended the Libya summit in Berlin on Jan. 19 should not favor Haftar after he left the meeting without signing a ceasefire document.
“Haftar has not signed it but only verbally accepted it,” said Erdogan. “We do not see this as full acceptance.”
Last week, Germany hosted a summit on Libya involving the rival camps, their main foreign backers and representatives which agreed that a permanent ceasefire has to be achieved in Tripoli to allow a political process to take place.
The GNA, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, has been struggling to fend off Haftar’s forces from eastern Libya, which have been supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.
Turkish military in Libya ‘to train pro-Sarraj forces’
Erdoğan said that Turkey has sent a training and cooperation team to Libya as part of a military cooperation agreement signed in November with the GNA.
“We sent, are sending our military delegation to there … We will not leave Sarraj alone. We are determined to provide all the help we can on this point,” Erdoğan said.
“Turkey and Germany are giving priority to the solution of problems through dialogue, urging the sides common sense and sanity,” he added.
Merkel, for her party, said that she hoped the Haftar side “will take positive steps.” “Fragile ceasefire in Libya must be turned into a permanent one…Articles agreed at Berlin summit on Libya will be approved by the U.N. Security Council,” she added.
Libya has had no stable central authority since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in 2011. For more than five years, it has had two rival governments, in the east and the west, with streets controlled by armed groups.
400,000 people in Idlib ‘moving towards Turkey’
Erdoğan also touched upon the latest situation in Syria’s Idlib, warning that around 400,000 people were moving towards the Turkish border as a result of renewed attacks by the Syrian government.
Turkish aid groups have begun building more than 10,000 houses in Idlib to shelter the growing number of people displaced by the fighting, while Turkey seeks to prevent a new influx of migrants across its border.
Erdoğan said Mekel told him that Germany could provide some support for the plans.
“I can imagine that we can provide German funds for this humanitarian action,” Merkel said during the press meeting, without providing any figures.
Germany has taken extraordinary measures to support Syrian refugees displaced by the conflict. In 2015, nearly 900,000 refugees sought sanctuary in Germany under Merkel’s open-door policy.