The Libyan National Army (LNA) reiterated on Sunday accusations that Turkey was continuing to provide military support to militias loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
LNA officer Khaled al-Mahjoub revealed that 16 Turkish soldiers were killed by the military “so far”, threatening Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with “more”.
A prominent LNA military official told Arab-observer that Erdogan was recently in the Turkish city of Izmir to attend the funeral of officers killed in Tripoli.
Information says that the ex former colonel in the Turkish army, Okan Altınay’ın was killed in Tripoli port, and was buried in his hometown under great blackout.
He noted that the funeral was not held in a military ceremony.
He identified some of the deceased as members of a unit that was manning an artillery canon near the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli.
“This is evidence that the Turks are hiding their artillery among civilians,” he charged, revealing that “several” of their forces have been killed, but Ankara does not disclose any figures.
Commenting on the fragile UN-brokered ceasefire in Tripoli, he remarked: “We are constantly assessing the situation and we have information that proves Turkey and the GNA’s violation of the deal by bringing in mercenaries and weapons through ships and commercial planes.”
LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari revealed that military intelligence confirmed the arrival of an arms and ammunition shipment from Turkey to Misrata port “in order to support the terrorist and armed gangs in the western region.”
“Our forces have not yet responded and they are monitoring the situation,” he stressed.
Erdogan had acknowledged that Turkish troops were killed in Libya, while also claiming that his forces had killed 100 members of the LNA.
Separately, GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha was severely criticized for saying the United States could establish a military base in Libya to balance out the Russian intervention in support of LNA commander Khalifa Haftar.
In an attempt to deflect the criticism, Bashagha accused pro-GNA militias of breaking the law and abusing their power to violate the rights of the people.
“The Libyan intelligence agency can no longer be trusted because it is controlled by certain militias in Tripoli,” he told a surprise press conference in Tripoli.
Moreover, he said he was facing difficulties in obtaining resources to his ministry, alleging that if he “were making a request for a militia it would be met immediately.”
He accused some militias of extorting the state for millions of dinars and for following the agendas of other countries.
He announced that security forces in Tripoli had raised their alert level, in what was interpreted as a sign of impending clashes between the pro-GNA militias.