Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accusing him of leading a colonial project based on pillaging, murder and hunger, the Middle East Monitor reported on Tuesday.
In a speech published on Facebook, Haftar said: “We do not accept a backward Turk ruling us again, we do not want to see a Turk walking in front of our heroes.”
Haftar in his speech sought to raise the morale of his fighters who in recent months have suffered defeats in the west of the country against the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Haftar said his forces included a large number of fighters from the Salafi movement, describing them as patriots and urging them to resist what he described as a new Turkish invasion of Libya.
In another speech given on Saturday Haftar said Turks stayed in Libya for 300 years, during which time the Libyans suffered from killing and looting, adding that the Libyans will not accept colonialism again.
Erdoğan confirmed in July that the information and operational support provided by the Turkish intelligence service in Libya has changed the rules of the game and contributed to stopping the progress of Haftar’s forces, according to Al Jazeera.
Erdoğan threatened, at the beginning of the year, that he would teach Haftar and his allies “the lesson they deserve” if he resumed his attacks against the GNA.