Tripoli government backs Turkey against threats of Eastern Libyan forces

Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli on Saturday said it would stand with Turkey against threats of Eastern Libyan forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

The statement came after Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) threatened to attack Turkish interests and accused Ankara of backing his rivals.

"Any attack on our friends, especially the Turks, will be regarded as harming our national security and will be resisted," the Libya's High Council of State said in a written statement. 

The threats are "a blow to relations with a country that cooperates with Libya in many areas and constitutes a large part of the country's total imports," Anadolu quoted Tripoli based government as saying. 

The LNA also banned commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and ordered its forces to attack Turkish ships, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said on Friday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said he had no information about the instructions given to the LNA by Haftar.

“If there is such an instruction, an order from Haftar, we will examine it. Of course we have taken necessary measures. From now on we can also take measures in a very different way,” Erdoğan said during a press conference at the end of G-20 summit in Japan. 

Ankara, which supports the internationally recognised eastern Tripoli-based GNA, have been repeatedly accused by Haftar of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the GNA. Turkey’s regional rivals Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states back Haftar’s forces. 

The LNA, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country's south, launched an offensive to take the capital in early April. Despite its air superiority, the LNA in recent weeks suffered a major setback in his push to take the capital Tripoli.