The UN-recognised Government of National Accord would need the coastal city as well as the strategic airbase handed over before any ceasefire, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said.

Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government prepare for Sirte battle, in Tripoli, Libya on July 6, 2020.
Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government prepare for Sirte battle, in Tripoli, Libya on July 6, 2020. (Reuters)

Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord would not benefit if a ceasefire was declared in the country right now along the current frontlines, Turkey's foreign minister has said.

The coastal city of Sirte and Jufra airbase need to be turned over to the GNA before it agrees to a ceasefire, Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with public broadcaster TRT's Turkish news channel on Monday.

"We believe that a political solution is the only solution, but the necessary conditions must be met," Cavusoglu said, reiterating Turkey's aspirations of a ceasefire in Libya.

Turkey will start seismic research and drilling operations for natural resources in areas of the eastern Mediterranean covered by a November agreement between Ankara and the GNA, he added.

Cavusoglu told TRT Haber Turkey was open to sharing the project with companies from third countries, such as Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.

EU blamed

Separately, in an article written for PoliticoCavusoglu accused the European Union of failing to take concerted action –– based on its core values –– against Libya's warlord Khalifa Haftar and his offensive against the legitimate government in Tripoli.

"While putschist militias and mercenaries continue to be heavily reinforced, the EU's Operation Irini in the Mediterranean (which has the stated aim of enforcing the arms embargo on Libya) is practically sanctioning the legitimate government," he said.  

Europe should "stand up and cry foul in the face of the shocking discovery of mass graves in Tarhuna containing the bodies of victims allegedly killed by Haftar's forces," the Turkish foreign minister said.

"Meanwhile, the blockade on Libya's oil resources is depriving the Libyan people of a crucial resource," he added.

READ MORE: Libya's Haftar sued in US for alleged war crimes

'Turkey stands with Azerbaijan'

Cavusoglu condemned a deadly attack by Armenian armed forces on Azerbaijani troops, in his TRT Haber interview.

He called on Armenia to "pull its head together" and noted that Turkey stands with Azerbaijan "with all it has".

Cavusoglu's remarks came shortly after three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and four others injured in a border clash with Armenian troops on Sunday.

He also rejected criticism against Turkey's recent decision to annul a law that turned Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia into a museum and thereby reverting it to a mosque.

The court on Friday ruled that the architectural gem was owned by a foundation established by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul, and presented to the community as a mosque - a status that cannot be legally changed.

READ MORE: Turkish president rejects international criticism over Hagia Sophia

Source: TRTWorld and agencies