Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still mobilizing forces, including both Turkish troops and foreign mercenaries, in Libya, and he wants to impose his power and normalize his involvement in the Libyan crisis before any upcoming negotiations, the spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Major General Ahmed al-Mismari said on Monday.
Turkey backs the Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been battling with the LNA for control of the country in a conflict that has sucked in regional players.
According to al-Mismari, Ankara continues to send thousands of fighters to Libya ahead of an expected upcoming confrontation over the key strategic positions of Sirte and Jufra in the center of the country.
Turkey is “moving thousands of mercenaries and terrorist fighters, as well as thousands of Turkish soldiers, into [Libya’s] western region. Erdogan wants to impose his power in Libya, or involvement in the Libyan crisis, as a reality that should be accepted in any upcoming negotiations,” al-Mismari said.
The Major General also said the LNA is ready on the frontlines and has sent the appropriate reinforcements to its forces.
“We are reinforcing all our forces present there with all kinds of arms. The latest was [sending reinforcements to] the coastal defense system for ship control,” he added.
Turkey has put a military plan into place in anticipation of a possible Egyptian intervention in Libya, according to a report published last week which cited unnamed government officials.
The escalation took place after Egypt’s parliament authorized last week the deployment of troops outside the country, allowing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to act on his threat of military action against Turkish-backed forces in response to their eastward advances in Libya.
Al-Mismari also said that LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar “is personally supervising all the forces’ movements, as well as the reinforcements and arms that have been moved to Jufra, Sirte, and the al-Hilal oil region.”
Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Clashes between the LNA and the GNA, led by Fayez al-Serraj, have intensified recently.
Many foreign powers have backed different sides of the conflict with varying degrees of support, with the most prominent countries being Turkey backing the GNA and Egypt backing the LNA. Turkey has been widely accused of using its position in Syria to channel thousands of Syrian mercenaries to support the GNA in Libya.