Libya and Algeria slam Turkish arms shipments

Libyan and Algerian officials denounced Turkey's recent arms shipments to a Libyan port near the Algerian border as a “declaration of war”, the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.

The purpose of these shipments is to destabilise Libya and send an arsenal to unstable regions, an Algerian security official said, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

The rockets and ammunition recently discovered at Khoms port, along the Algerian-Libyan border, are “a real declaration of war against us,” the official added. The military and security forces are on highest alert against any attempts to confront Algeria's security, according to the newspaper.

Last week, Libyan authorities announced the discovery of two containers loaded with arms from Turkey. The shipment reportedly contained 3,000 Turkish-made handguns, as well as other handguns, hunting rifles and ammunition, according to Benghazi's Benina airport customs services statement.

The UN mission in Libya on Dec. 22 condemned the shipment of arms to Libya as “extremely disconcerting.”

On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu flew to Libya for a surprise visit where he held talks with the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.

Çavuşoğlu denied Ankara's involvement in the arms shipment, asserting that the actions "do not represent the policy or approach of the Turkish state."

After the meeting, Libya and Turkey agreed to open an urgent joint investigation into a consignment of arms, the Libyan government said.

One of the Libyan council's members, Fathi al-Majbari, said Çavuşoğlu's visit aimed at "covering up for the weapons shipment that was headed to terrorist and outlawed groups.”

He revealed that the parliament would discuss whether to take measures against Turkey. It will also demand an international probe in the arms shipment, according to Asharq al-Awsat.