Turkey has denied that two Turkish restaurant workers detained in Libya by the forces of eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar are spies, Reuters reported, citing a Turkish newspaper.
The Haberturk newspaper said Volkan Altinok and Mehmet Demir, who worked in a restaurant south of the capital of Tripoli, have been held since April 12 in a prison near Benghazi. It said pro-Haftar media had reported that they were suspected of spying but that Turkish authorities rejected the allegations as “social media delirium.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) mounted an offensive on Tripoli, in the west of the country, three weeks ago. It has so far failed to breach defenses in the city’s south despite heavy fighting.
The battle for the capital has all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between rival factions that have competed for power since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. Turkey supports Libya’s internationally recognized government based in the capital.