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Erdogan slams Egypt, UAE actions in Libya as 'illegal, piratical'

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Egypt is involved in an 'illegal process' [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 July, 2020

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Turkey's president slammed Egypt's involvement in Libya's conflict following a meeting between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Libyan tribal leaders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) role is aiding forces fighting against Libya's UN recognised, Tripoli-based government.

His remarks followed a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Libyan tribal leaders who urged Sisi to intervene in the conflict.

"Steps taken by Egypt here, especially their siding with the putschist Haftar, show they are in an illegal process," Erdogan said, while also describing the involvement of the United Arab Emirates as "piratical".

Turkey is a key backer of Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and intervened in Libya to provide critical support against rogue military general Khalifa Haftar earlier this year. 

In April 2019, Haftar launched an assault to seize Tripoli from the GNA, killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands more but in recent months, the GNA has driven Haftar's troops, who are backed by foreign mercenaries away from western Libya and forced them to retreat towards Sirte.

Turkey, which has energy interests in the gas-rich Mediterrenean, has vowed to support the GNA's push for Sirte and demanded the evacuation of Haftar’s forces.

Egypt's Sisi said warned last month that an assault on Sirte would constitute a "red line" for Egypt, saying that Cairo may intervene if an attack takes place. The central Sirte-Jufrah front line currently held by pro-Haftar forces is seen as the gateway to Libya's main oil export terminals.

If Egypt's military enters Libya to fight against the Turkish-backed GNA, analysts believe Cairo will likely receive strong support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have already decalred their approval of Sisi’s "red line" comments.

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