Refugees to southern Europe if Turkish interference in Libya is not stopped: Lahweej

A Turkish-made armoured personnel vehicle, drives down a street in the Libyan coastal city of Sorman on April 13, 2020. (AFP)

The international community, “specifically the Europeans,” must act to put an end to the Turkish involvement in Libya, the foreign minister of Libya’s parallel eastern government said Thursday.

Abdulhadi Lahweej, speaking to Al Arabiya, called on the United Nations as well as the international community to help put an end to Turkish efforts “to take Libya back to the years of poverty.”

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Lahweej said Turkey’s involvement was rejected by all Libyans, “regardless of the challenges and sacrifices needed.”

Libya has two governments, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the capital Tripoli, and another based in Benghazi, east of the country.

The eastern commander, General Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, launched an assault to capture Tripoli months earlier and is fighting forces aligned with the government that is backed militarily by Turkey.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted in February that pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were present in Libya alongside Ankara’s training personnel.

The Arab League has heavily criticized Turkey’s involvement, and on Sunday, France blasted Turkish “aggressive” intervention.

NATO also announced on Thursday that it was investigating an incident in the Mediterranean where France says Turkish frigates were “extremely aggressive” towards one of its naval vessels that was trying to check a cargo ship suspected of taking arms to Libya.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, Lahweej said that Turkish interference would lead to refugees fleeing to the south of Europe, including mercenaries. “They will be a ticking time bomb for Europe,” he said.

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Last Update: Friday, 19 June 2020 KSA 03:40 - GMT 00:40
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