Eastern-based Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar said on Friday a national war was being fuelled in his country by Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, who he called a “deranged Turkish sultan”.
Speaking in Benghazi, the power base of Haftar’s forces, the commander also said his forces were “accepting the challenge” of Turkish military intervention in Libya’s conflict.
Turkey’s parliament voted on Thursday to allow troops to be sent to support the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, deepening fears of more fighting, though analysts and officials said Ankara was unlikely to immediately put boots on the ground.
The GNA has sought Turkey’s support as it fends off an offensive by Haftar’s forces, which control the east and swept through southern Libya in early 2019.
Earlier on Friday, around 3 000 people took to the eastern city of Benghazi, protesters said they had turned out to oppose a Turkish “invasion” of Libya, which was part of the Ottoman Empire before coming under Italian occupation.