Turkey urges Haftar forces to release its citizens

Turkey: Syria political transition to be goal in Geneva peace talks
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu

Six Turkish citizens held by illegal militia loyal to East Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar

Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sunday expected immediate release of six Turkish citizens held by East Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar forces. 

“Holding six Turkish citizens in Libya by illegal militia loyal to [Khalifa] Haftar is an act of banditry, piracy,” said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.

It added that Turkey expects immediate release of its citizens, and otherwise, Haftar elements would become legitimate target.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.

It is noteworthy that in May, Turkey delivered new weapons to UN-backed Libyan government

The forces of Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) boasted Saturday 19th of May of new weapons to fight off a rival’s offensive on Tripoli, despite an arms embargo on the country.

“The GNA supplies armour, ammunition and… weapons, to its forces who are defending Tripoli,” read a statement published on Facebook.

Photos of dozens of armored vehicles at Tripoli port were also published on the Facebook page, which is run by the media office for the GNA’s counter-offensive against Haftar.