Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said his country will not refrain from “teaching a lesson” to Khalifa Haftar if his eastern Libyan forces continue attacks against the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
Turkey and Russia failed to convince Haftar on Monday to sign a binding truce to halt his nine-month campaign to try to conquer the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Erdoğan said in a televised speech from Ankara: “We will not hesitate to teach a deserved lesson to the putschist Haftar if he continues his attacks on the country’s legitimate administration and our brothers in Libya.”
“The putschist Haftar did not sign the ceasefire. He first said yes, but later unfortunately he left Moscow, he fled Moscow,” Erdoğan said. “Despite this, we find the talks in Moscow were positive as they showed the true face of the putschist Haftar to the international community.”
The Libyan renegade military commander, who was reportedly accompanied by advisers from the UAE, was in Moscow on Monday for talks on a ceasefire with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj. But after seven hours of negotiations, only Sarraj signed up to the agreement. Haftar first asked for some time to study the document, before he abruptly left Moscow without signing the deal.
According to media reports, Libya’s renegade military commander criticized the content of the agreement that, he said, ignores many of the Libyan army’s demands.
After the hopes of a long-term end to the fighting between the two warring parties were shattered in Moscow, eyes are now turned to Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing to host a summit on Libya in Berlin on January 19.
The aim of the Berlin conference is to secure a collective pledge that external actors will end their interference in the country by refusing to send troops, arm the militia or fly drones that have caused mass casualties in a war zone centered around Tripoli.
The German foreign ministry said leaders and heads of state from 12 countries and four multinational organizations, including the United Nations, had been invited to Berlin on Sunday.