Turkish Defence Minister arrives in Libya

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has arrived in Libyan capital Tripoli to inspect Turkish troops in the north African country and meet with Libyan military officials.

Akar arrived at the Abu Sita Naval Base in Tripoli, accompanied by Turkish Chief of the Staff Yaşar Güler and force commanders, according to media network Ain Libya.

The visit came after self-styled leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, spoke against Turkey’s extension of authorisation for its military in Libya and called on his fighters to “drive out” Turkish forces, pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

Haftar told his forces to prepare to fight Turkey, speaking at Libya’s independence celebrations held in Benghazi. The general said peace in the war-torn country wouldn’t be possible “as long as Turkish boots soil our lands,” daily Sözcü reported, citing Arab News.

“The enemy had two options, leaving in a peaceful manner or being forced out,” Haftar said. “Turkey chose war over peace.”

Turkey supports the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, and has sent military equipment and personnel to aid the GNA in its efforts to take back control in all of the country, starting in January this year. The Turkish parliament approved an extension to troop deployments on Monday.