The commander of the rebel Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar has on Thursday threatened to use force against Turkish armed forces in Libya if Turkey continues interfering in the North African country. This was reported by Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported.
“There will be no security or peace as long as the boots of the Turkish military are desecrating our immaculate soil,” Haftar said on the 69th anniversary of Libya’s Independence Day, according to Al Ahram.
“The colonising enemy has one of two choices: either to leave peacefully or to be driven out by force.”
Haftar’s comments come after Turkey’s parliament decided on Tuesday to extend the deployment of Turkish troops in Libya by 18 more months.
Turkey supports the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli in its conflict against Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya, called the Libyan National Army (LNA). The LNA is supporting the House of Representatives based in Tobruk, which opposes the Tripoli government.
Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, among some other countries.
Observers say Turkey’s military contributions have been vital in helping the GNA reverse previous gains made by Haftar’s 14-month offensive towards Tripoli.