Following the toppling of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has not been able to attain stability and peace. A country divided along the lines of the powers supported externally, the civil war in Libya goes on unabated with all the violence it has unveiled.
As in Syria, Egypt, and Sudan, Turkey has taken sides in Libya too, supporting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and its radical affiliates by sending them weapons. In brief, Turkey intervenes in the war in Libya by proxy, which sparks a harsh reaction from the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, which supports the Tobruk-based government and controls the major part of the east of the country.
This reaction has risen to such heights that General Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesperson of the Libyan National Army, made a statement on 28 June 2019, saying:
- Turkish ships and jets approaching Libya would be targeted and shot by the Libyan National Army,
- The Libyan National Army would attack any Turkish military presence (in Libya),
- Flights from Libya to Turkey would be stopped,
- All Turkish citizens in Libya would be detained, and
- Turkish companies and projects in Libya would be considered legitimate targets for the Libyan National Army.
One of the sides in the war in Libya daring to threaten Turkey is a result of the AKP’s partisan and adventure-seeking attitude in foreign policy.
Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Ministry of Defense has responded to the threat made against Turkey by the Libyan National Army while the president says he is not aware of the matter. This issue is too important to be brushed aside by keeping quiet. Who will be responsible should Turkish citizens in Libya be detained? The position we currently find ourselves in is a result of challenging the whole world.
In Libya, Turkey positions itself against all the countries supporting the Libyan National Army, primarily Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. As the war in Libya becomes more and more protracted, it will continue to cause negative effects on a regional and global scale. Al-Qaeda’s extensions, primarily ISIS, will gain more power and the migrant influx will intensify. We cannot accept that Turkey should have a share in such an ominous course of events.
Turkey should follow a policy aligned with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and play a constructive role to overcome the divided nature of the country.
It appears that in these conditions it should become a priority that the authorities responsible for protecting the safety of life of our citizens should post-haste arrange make the necessary arrangements for humanitarian assistance and evacuation.
The Libyan people should know that, as the party of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, we support Libya’s territorial integrity and do not approve of the AKP’s wrong and biased foreign policy impacting our historical relations.