Ankara and Tripoli share common interests in the Eastern Mediterranean region and will make sure the legitimate government cannot be threatened by “any dictator or any terrorist like Haftar,” Turkey’s vice president said. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay attends joint press conference with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in Snagov, Romania, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (Vadim Ghirda / AP) Turkey will not allow any uncertainty in Libya, said Vice President Fuat Oktay on Friday, and voiced full support for Libya's legitimate government.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of Atlantic Council and Turkish Heritage Organization, Oktay stressed that militants loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar should recognise UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj's government.
“Any uncertainty within the region costs Turkey and Turkish people,” Oktay said, citing the Syrian civil war, which he said pushed nearly four million refugees into Turkey.
Ankara wants nothing but a stable neighbour since the beginning of the war in 2011, he said and added Turkey desires the same for Libya.
“Turkey is standing behind the legitimacy,” he added.
“We have no other way to help,” said Oktay after Libya's government asked for support, while some countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France, back warlord Haftar militias.
The vice president said Turkey and Libya also share common interests in the Eastern Mediterranean region, so Ankara will “make sure the legitimate government cannot be threatened by any dictator or any terrorist like Haftar.”
“We will be there no matter what the outcomes. So we are decisive on that,” he said. “President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan made it very open to the rest of the world and we hope that EU, US and other including Russia will understand that.”
Libya’s internationally recognised government, also known as the Government of National Accord, has been under attack by Haftar's militias since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al Watiya airbase, in a major blow to Haftar's militants.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s mobs.
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