Turkey’s defense minister flies to Libya to inspect Turkish units: Media report

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar traveled to Libya on Saturday flanked by top military officers to inspect Turkish units in the war-torn country, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

The unscheduled visit comes after eastern Libyan General Khalifa Haftar called on his fighters to “drive out” Turkish forces backing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, as talks drag on to end a long-running war in the oil-rich nation.

Turkish support for the GNA stave off an offensive by Haftar in April 2019.

The sides struck a ceasefire agreement in October formally ending the fighting and setting the stage for elections at the end of next year.

But Haftar said there would “be no peace in the presence of a colonizer on our land,” in an address to mark Libya’s 69th anniversary of its independence on Thursday.

“We will therefore take up arms again to fashion our peace with our own hands… and, since Turkey rejects peace and opts for war, prepare to drive out the occupier by faith, will and weapons,” Haftar said.

The Turkish parliament this week adopted a motion extending the deployment of soldiers in Libya by 18 months.

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