Turkish President Erdogan urges Haftar to stop attacks in Libya
Erdogan called for an end to "unlawful attacks" by Khalifa Haftar's forces during a meeting with the Libyan prime minister, AFP reported Friday, citing the Turkish presidential office.
"The president renewed his support for the internationally-recognized government and urged an end to unlawful attacks by Haftar's forces", the Turkish presidential office said in a statement, cited by AFP.
On Sunday, the Libyan eastern city of Ajdabiya's security directorate said that it had arrested two Turkish citizens after Haftar's instruction to respond to Turkey's support for terrorist groups in Libya. At the same time, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier that the LNA arrested six of the country's nationals and warned that Haftar's forces would become "legitimate targets" if Turkish citizens were not immediately released.
Tensions between Ankara and eastern Libyan forces escalated last week, when the LNA said its air defenses had shot down a Turkish-made drone launched by the UN-backed GNA near Tripoli. At a press conference in Benghazi, the LNA spokesman, Ahmed Mismari, said that Turkish drones had been used in the recent GNA operation to recapture the strategic city of Garyan to the south of Tripoli from the LNA.
Since the overthrow and assassination of Libya's long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi by US-supported Islamic extremists in 2011, the country has been divided between two governments. The eastern part is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the western part by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).