The Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy has said he has received orders from the General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to sink any Turkish research vessel that would approach the region.
Farag el Mahdawi told Greece’s ALPHA TV on Monday evening about the orders by LNA General Khalifa Haftar, the Greek reporter said.
The report coincides with an announcement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday that Turkish soldiers may be deployed in Libya upon the request of the country’s UN-recognised government.
Libya is split between the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli headed by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the Tobruk government, led by General Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the LNA. Haftar in April launched a military assault to seize the Libyan capital and has since neared Tripoli with support from Russian forces.
Turkey has been providing military assistance to the U.N.-backed Libyan government of Serraj and last month signed a deal with the GNA redefining Turkey’s maritime borders in the Mediterranean.
Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which seek to build a pipeline carrying gas to Europe across those waters, have all objected to the deal.
”I have an order… as soon as the Turkish research vessels arrive, I will have a solution. I will sink them myself. I have this order from Haftar,” the Libyan navy official said.
Haftar’s LNA mainly wields power in capital Tripoli.