Turkish President Recepp Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to unleash his country’s military against Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar if his forces continued attacks against the internationally-backed government in Tripoli.
Mr. Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara would not refrain from “teaching a lesson” to General Haftar in order to stop his quest for power.
Haftar, the commander of Libya’s eastern forces, enjoys the support of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirate. His forces have captured large areas of the country, and have been encamped at the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, skirmishing with troops of the internationally recognized government of national accord (GNA).
A visibly angry Mr. Erdogan said General Haftar “ran away” from Moscow after Monday’s peace talks between him and the head of the Tripoli-based government, Fayez al-Serraj, failed to lead to an open-ended ceasefire.
Last month, Turkey announced that it was sending troops to Libya to prop up the Tripoli government, following a string of military losses by loyalist GNA forces against General Haftar’s troops.
Recent attempts at brokering peace between the warring sides have met with failure.
Russia and Turkey convened the latest round of peace talks, following nine months of fighting. But the negotiations appeared to founder on Monday, when General Haftar abruptly left Moscow without explanation.
Oil-rich Libya has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed military uprising and conflict that resulted in the overthrow and death of long time ruler, Moammar Gadaffi.