By Omer Tugrul Cam
ANKARA (AA) – Renegade Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar is seeking a military solution to the lingering conflict in the country, Turkey's foreign minister said Wednesday.
“This is true that Haftar does not want peace. He seeks a military solution, not a political process," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a panel in the capital Ankara.
Despite that Turkey is not pessimistic about the Libya issue, he added.
On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to the call of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.
– Cease-fire in Idlib
Cavusoglu also touched on the cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib that began early Sunday, succeeding an oft-violated de-escalation deal reached in September 2018.
“Turkey will take necessary steps in Idlib, Syria if there is any security risk,” he said, adding that this is not a threat to the regime.
Turkey pushed hard for a cease-fire in Idlib after the region endured months of battering by forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime and its allies, sending about a million civilian refugees flocking toward the Turkish border.
Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Since then, more than 1,300 civilians there have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces as the cease-fire continued to be violated.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar