Libya: Top Official Breaks Rank, Says Turkish Troops Unwelcome
A top Libyan official has broken rank with the prime minister by describing Turkey’s prospective deployment of troops to the war-torn country as “unacceptable” due to its likely destabilizing effects. The speaker of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), in conjunction with his Cypriot counterpart, released a statement calling the potential Turkish move a “flagrant violation of international law,” while noting that Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj had not sought approval from Libya’s parliament nor from the country’s nine-member presidential council. Aguila Saleh also denounced a recent maritime demarcation agreement signed by Sarraj and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which encompasses territories claimed by Cyprus, the northern part of which Turkey occupies. Saleh accused Ankara of taking advantage of the chaos in Libya that has persisted since the 2011 NATO-led overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Currently, the GNA and its rebel allies are attempting to fend off a months-long offensive on the capital spearheaded by strongman Khalifa Haftar, who leads the breakaway Libyan National Army.