Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Europe it could face new threats from terrorist organisations if Libya’s UN-recognised government in Tripoli were to fall, in an article published in Politico on Saturday.
In the article, which was published on the eve of a Libya peace conference in Berlin, Erdogan said the EU’s failure to adequately support the Government of National Accord (GNA) would be “a betrayal of its own core values, including democracy and human rights”.
“Europe will encounter a fresh set of problems and threats if Libya’s legitimate government were to fall,” Erdogan wrote.
“Terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which suffered a military defeat in Syria and Iraq, will find a fertile ground to get back on their feet.”
The GNA led by Fayez al-Sarraj has been under attack since April from strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces based in the east of the country, with fighting killing over 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters.
In a joint initiative, Turkey and Russia have brokered a ceasefire but Haftar walked away from talks in Moscow this week aimed at finalising the truce agreement.
A furious Erdogan has accused Haftar of fleeing Moscow and said he would “teach (him) a lesson” if he resumed fighting.
Erdogan’s government backs Sarraj and the Turkish parliament approved the deployment of troops to Libya earlier this month after the signing of controversial security and maritime deal between Tripoli and Ankara.
“To leave Libya at the mercy of a warlord would be a mistake of historic proportions,” he said, in a veiled reference to Haftar.