Ankara/Tripoli: Russia has not maintained a neutral stand in the Libya conflict and is supporting General Haftar’s forces. Turkey has, therefore, said that more than the Egyptian military participation, the Russian interference in the battle was most concerning. The reaction came as Turkey has not been successful at negotiations with Russia on Libya as it did on Syria. In the meanwhile, Russia has urged to abide by the Berlin agreement entirely and end arms smuggling to Libya to stop the war in the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin stated that Turkey was trying to get the Libyan crisis resolved with dialogue. ‘Turkey is trying to get Russia to participate in the front. If we could have established cooperation with Russia as we had in Syria, the situation would have changed. However, Russia is unwilling to accept a neutral role in Libya. Although Russia denies it, its support to Haftar in Libya is obvious,’ criticized Kalin. At the same time, Kalin went on to say that ‘what worries us (Turkey) is the deployment of Wagner mercenaries by Russia, which are aiding General Haftar’s forces in this fight’.
‘The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has transferred mercenaries from Sudan, Niger and Chad to Libya for supporting Haftar’s rebels. Even Egypt has sent tanks, military vehicles to Libya in support of Haftar. Although more than Egypt’s military aid, Russia’s support to Haftar’s forces and deployment of the Wagner mercenaries for action against the Sarraj government, was more concerning for Turkey,’ Kalin said. Earlier, Turkish media had reported about the deployment of the Russian mercenaries from Wagner in Libya. Also, photographs of a meeting between General Haftar and head of the Wagner Group in the Russian Presidential office were published in the report. However, this is the first time Turkey has officially launched a verbal attack on Russia concerning the Libya crisis by highlighting the relations between Russia and the Wagner group.
General Haftar’s forces and the Sarraj government are locked in an intense battle for the last two years. The Sarraj government has received recognition from the United Nations (UN). In contrast, one unit of the Libyan forces under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar has called for a rebellion to topple the government. The conflict in Libya is not political anymore, but other countries have also stepped into it due to the vast oil reserves the country holds. Turkey, Iran and Qatar are supporting the Sarraj government. On the other hand, accusing the government of being a sponsor of terror, Saudi, Egypt, UAE, France and Russia have offered their support to the Haftar rebellion. Until now, the US has not sided with any front although the country is believed to be on General Haftar’s side.