Turkey dismisses Egyptian president’s warning of Libya intervention: report

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PHOTO: Foreign Policy

Egypt’s warning that it could intervene directly in neighboring Libya will not deter Turkey supporting its Libyan allies, a senior Turkish official said on Monday, amid tensions between regional rivals Cairo and Ankara, Reuters reported.

Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which has reversed a 14-month assault on the Libyan capital of Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Ankara’s entry into Libya’s conflict has stoked tensions with Haftar’s backers as well as France.

On Saturday Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Cairo has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya and ordered his army to be ready for any mission outside the country, if necessary.

“Sisi’s statements have no basis,” the Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “Turkey and Libya will not be turned away from their determination.”

The GNA with Turkish support is continuing preparations to recapture the strategic coastal city of Sirte, seized by Haftar’s forces in January, and the Jufra region further south, the official added.

Yasin Aktay, a deputy chairman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party, said direct intervention by Egypt would not be supported by Algeria, another of Libya’s neighbors, and would set Egypt against NATO member Turkey.

“Sisi does not have the power or guts to attempt this,” he said. The UAE and Saudi Arabia expressed support for Egypt after Sisi’s statement on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Egypt called for a ceasefire in Libya as part of a new initiative, which the United States, Russia and the UAE welcomed. Turkey dismissed it as an attempt to save Haftar following his battlefield losses.

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