The statement from Hulusi Akar comes after Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar lost major strategic areas to the UN-backed government in recent days.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar makes a speech after his meetings with Turkish military commanders in Sanliurfa, Turkey on June 6, 2020.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar makes a speech after his meetings with Turkish military commanders in Sanliurfa, Turkey on June 6, 2020. (AA)

Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar will “certainly disappear” if he loses support in the wake of multiple recent military defeats, said Turkey’s national defence minister on Wednesday.

“As the support behind him is withdrawn, lifted, Haftar will certainly disappear there,” Hulusi Akar told Turkish news channel A Haber.

Turkey is aiding the Libyan government with military training, cooperation, and advisers, according to an earlier statement by Akar.

Turkey supports Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

Egypt's ceasefire 'stillborn'

Turkey's top diplomat on Wednesday said a recent call by Egypt for a ceasefire in Libya was "stillborn."

Speaking to local media in Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu doubted the "sincerity" and "convincingness" of the so-called Cairo Declaration, citing recently intensified aggression against Libya's UN-recognised government by Haftar.

The declaration called on Saturday for a cease-fire in Libya as of Monday and proposes a new assembly to form the House of Representatives and Presidential Council.

Russia and the UAE welcomed the plan, while Germany said UN-backed talks were key to the peace process.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu dismissed the proposal as an attempt to save Haftar following the losses he suffered on the battlefield.

Cavusoglu questioned the current motives of Haftar, whom he said previously "refused all ceasefire efforts".

"Amid recent victories of the [UN-recognised] Government of National Accord, they are calling for a truce as Haftar began to lose on the ground. This is neither convincing nor sincere. Ceasefire efforts in Cairo are stillborn," he said.

Underlining that only a ceasefire agreed on by both parties in the conflict would be permanent, Cavusoglu said, "Haftar never wanted this. Neither the National Accord Government nor other countries were present in Cairo. A ceasefire call to save Haftar is not sincere or convincing to us."

'Turkish involvement seen as a positive'

He further said both NATO and the US looked "positively" on Turkey's involvement in Libya and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held telephone conversations with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Donald Trump on the issue.

Cavusoglu stressed that a truce must be signed at a platform where everyone could come together.

"If a consensus is reached on a platform where everyone comes together under the umbrella of the United Nations, that ceasefire will be credible and permanent," Cavusoglu added.

'Haftar missed his opportunity in Libya's future'

Referring to earlier ceasefire efforts by Turkey and Russia, Cavusoglu said he spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday about Libya and that both countries agreed to hold political consultations on the issue.

"We clearly told them that we did not approve the Cairo declaration and that we did not find it realistic or sincere, and therefore we will not support it. We will have talks with the Russians on Libya in the coming days," he said.

"[Haftar] declared that he did not recognise the political agreement and announced his seizure of the country's administration," Cavusoglu said. 

"Haftar became a pirate-like coup plotter. Of course, the Libyan people will decide, but such a person should not have a role in the Libyan administration because putschists should not be here. Haftar missed his opportunity," he added.

War in Libya

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a political deal led by the UN.

The government and the western parts of the country have been under attack by Haftar's militias since April 2019.

The Libyan army has made significant military gains against Haftar's militias in recent days, capturing all the country's western cities to the Tunisian border.

Libya's internationally recognised government has been under attack by Haftar's militnats since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies