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Turkey says Haftar’s militias will be “legitimate target” if they attack its interests in Libya

The Turkish Foreign Ministry reiterated Thursday that it would respond to “putschist Khalifa Haftar’s elements” in Libya as a “legitimate target” if they attack Turkey’s interests in the country.

The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hami Aksoy, said in a written statement that Ankara reminds once again that in case of targeting Turkish interests in Libya, this will have very heavy consequences and the putschist Haftar elements will be considered as a legitimate target.

Aksoy’s statement came after Haftar’s terrorist militias said they would target Turkish forces and interests in all Libyan cities.

Haftar’s Air Force chief Saqr Al-Jaroushi said last night that their warplanes will carry out the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history against Turkish positions and interests in all Libyan cities.

“It is noteworthy that the statement, which is referred by a foreign media outlet and said illegitimate militias loyal to Haftar will target Turkish interests with their air elements, is made after new warplanes are deployed in Libya’s east with foreign support,” Aksoy added.

Reports have pointed out that Haftar’s militias had received at least six MiG 29s and two Sukhoi 24s had flown into the eastern region from the Russian-controlled Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, escorted by two SU-35 Russian airforce jets, according to information released by the GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

The spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Haftar’s statement mirrored the defeat of his militias on the ground, saying it was “the clearest sign” that Haftar and his supporters were trying to escalate the conflict in Libya.

Libyan army recently destroyed over 10 Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air defense systems supplied to Haftar by the United Arab Emirates. On Monday, the GNA forces also recaptured the key Al-Watiya airbase from Haftar militias.

On Wednesday, the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, said Turkey helps the Libyan Government of National Accord in military training, cooperation and consultancy, adding that this assistance had swayed the balance of the conflict to GNA’s benefit.

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