The general vowed to “confront and expel” foreign forces in a statement on Friday, singling out Ankara by name.
“We declare jihad and general mobilization to counter the Turkish invasion,” Haftar said. “The Turkish friendly people must rise up against the adventurers who force their army to be wiped out in Libya.”
The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the go-ahead for deploying soldiers to reinforce its allies in the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), one of the factions vying for control of Libya since the 2011 ouster of leader Muammar Gaddafi in a US-led NATO operation.
Ankara expressed hopes, however, that the deployment would be unnecessary and that Haftar would halt his months-long offensive on Tripoli, launched in April 2019.
Though the GNA is the internationally recognized government of Libya, most of the country is controlled by a rival government based in Tobruk and Libyan National Army troops loyal to Haftar. Under attack since the middle of last year, the GNA has been confined to the area around its base of operations in Tripoli.
Some observers fear that sending troops could only worsen matters in Libya, propelling the war into greater levels of bloodshed. The country is still reeling from the aftermath of Gaddafi’s removal from power – spearheaded by former US President Barack Obama – which ignited years of violent conflict, drove Europe’s refugee crisis and created lawlessness in which terror groups flourish.