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Libyan Crisis Can Affect Entire Mediterranean Region- Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the opening of the Turkish-German University’s new facilities, in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 24, 2020. (Photo by AFP)



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that chaos in Libya will affect the entire Mediterranean region if peace is not established as soon as possible.

“If calm is not established as soon as possible, the atmosphere of chaos in Libya will affect all the Mediterranean basin,” he said in a speech on Friday as he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps — the Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and a camp in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces under the command of Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar receives support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

Haftar’s militia forces have been sowing chaos in Libya. In April, they launched an assault on the capital to unseat Sarraj’s government, which is supported by Ankara.

World powers have stepped up efforts in recent weeks to find a political solution to the fighting in Libya.

On Sunday, leaders from Turkey, Russia, Egypt, France, Italy, Britain, and the United States, as well as Sarraj and Haftar, attended a UN-backed summit in Berlin to help establish a “permanent” ceasefire between the warring sides.

The final communiqué of the day-long summit urged all the parties concerned in the persisting conflict “to redouble their efforts for a sustained suspension of hostilities, de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire.”

In his Friday remarks, Erdogan urged greater pressure on Haftar.

Referring to a recent missile attack on Tripoli’s sole functioning airport, blamed on Haftar’s forces, Erdogan said it shows “who is in favor of peace and who is in favor of bloodshed and tears.”

Six military-grade Grad rockets targeted Mitiga International Airport on Wednesday, according to the Libyan government.

Turkey had previously warned Europe that could face threats originating Libya if the Libyan government was not shored up. On the eve of the Berlin summit, President Erdogan warned of threats to Europe from terrorist organizations if the Libyan government were to fall.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.

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