Libya’s Haftar ‘nothing but a pirate’, Erdoğan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the leader of the forces threatening the Libyan Government of National Accord in Tripoli “nothing but a pirate” in statements to the press published on Thursday, France 24 reported.

Khalife Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has taken control of much of the east and south of the North African country, and in April launched an offensive that threatened to capture the Libyan capital city from the GNA.

The offensive has been beaten back with military assistance including arms shipments from the GNA’s backers in Turkey, as Erdoğan acknowledged in June.

The LNA has threatened to target Turkish government assets and blocked flights from Turkey that month, after GNA forces recaptured an important area near Tripoli.

"Haftar is nothing but a pirate," France 24 quoted Erdoğan as saying. "We hope that in a short while an opportunity for Libya to hold elections emerges and the people take the chance to represent their rights democratically."

Turkey has supported the Islamist-rooted GNA in its conflict with the LNA and the rival Tobruk-based House of Representatives, which was established in 2014 after the Tripoli administration refused to acknowledge the results of controversial and poorly attended elections.