Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visits Libya and says Turkey will retaliate against any attack by rebel General Khalifa Haftar.
The Turkish defense minister said any attack by renegade eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on his staff in the North African country would be quelled by force.
“A war criminal, the murderer Haftar and his supporters must know that they will be considered a legitimate target in the event of an attack on Turkish forces” by his troops, Hulusi Akar said in a speech to Turkish units in Tripoli on Saturday evening. available to media on Sundays.
His comments come days after Haftar said his so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) would “prepare to drive out the occupier by faith, will and arms”, referring to Turkish troops operating in support. of the Libyan National Government Accord (GNA).
“If they take such a step, they will not be able to find any place to flee,” Akar said, referring to Haftar’s forces.
“Everyone should come to their senses.”
Turkey’s support for the GNA earlier this year helped push back a 14-month offensive against the capital by Haftar, which is backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
The two sides reached a ceasefire agreement in October, setting the stage for elections at the end of next year.
Akar made an unscheduled visit to Tripoli on Saturday where he discussed, according to Libyan officials, military cooperation between Ankara and the GNA.
The Turkish defense minister said the political talks based on the ceasefire were looking for a solution.
“What matters here is that everyone must contribute to a political solution. Anything other than that would be bad, ”he added.
Haftar said that there would be “no peace in the presence of a colonizer on our land” in his speech on Thursday.
Al Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Abdel Wahed, who reported on the Libyan capital Tripoli, said a high-level Egyptian delegation including the country’s defense minister and heads of intelligence services were in the city. to meet with government officials.
“Regional actors are pushing for a peaceful solution instead of a military solution,” Abdel Wahed said.
“A high-level Egyptian delegation met with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli. This is the first time in six years, ”he added.