The Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Sunday that forces loyal to Libya’s warlord Khalifa Haftar will be seen as legitimate targets if they attempt to attack Turkish troops in Libya.
These remarks came from Akar after he paid a visit to Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Saturday and met with senior Libyan officials during which the two sides underlined their bilateral cooperation, two days after Haftar urged his forces to fight out Turkish forces from Libya.
Accompanied by Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, Yasar Guler, and other military commanders, Akar met with Libya’s Head of the High Council of State Khalid Mishri, Defense Minister Salah Al-Namroush and Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha. He also attended a military college graduation ceremony in Tripoli.
The Turkish Defense Minister explained that if Haftar’s forces took such a step, they would be unable to find any place to flee to, adding that everyone should come to their senses, and warned Haftar’s forces of reckless conduct, while referring to Haftar as a war criminal and murderer.
During his visit to Turkish troops in Libya, Akar underlined the nearly 500-year historical and cultural ties between Turkey and Libya, saying Ankara cooperated with the Tripoli-based legitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) at a time when other global actors hesitated.
He also noted that the UN-recognized GNA is the only legitimate government in the country, indicating that putschist Haftar’s forces and those who support him are the real problems in Libya.”
“The 21 mass graves found in the city of Tarhouna again revealed Haftar’s massacres. Unfortunately, the world continues its silent, but we believe that the GNA will not let this crime against humanity go.” Akar indicated, urging the international courts to continue their investigations into Haftar’s war crimes and hold him accountable for what he did.
"We are giving training and consultation programs for Libyans as per our agreements. We have trained 3000 soldiers so far." Akar said, adding that Haftar isn't acting alone as he is a pawn of foreign agenda and he doesn't know that being a Marshal isn't by buying a uniform from the markets and wearing ranks, rather by experience and education.