Turkey is threatening tough retaliation if forces loyal to Libyan general Khalifa Haftar strike Turkish interests or its diplomatic missions in Tripoli or elsewhere.
Haftar, who has set up a rival government in eastern Libya, has been fighting to topple the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
“If our missions and our interests in Libya are targeted, we will deem Haftar’s forces legitimate targets,” The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
Turkey says the area near its embassy in Tripoli was shelled late last week. Haftar’s forces deny responsibility.
But Turkey is strongly criticizing the United Nations for what it says is the U.N.’s failure to move against Haftar.
“It is unacceptable for the United Nations to remain silent against this carnage any longer. Countries providing military, financial and political aid to Haftar are responsible for the suffering that the people of Libya are enduring and the chaos and instability the country is being dragged into,” the foreign ministry statement said.
Turkey supports the Tripoli-based government as it tries to defend itself from a year-long offensive from Haftar to seize the capital.
Weekend shelling in and around Tripoli has killed as many as six and wounded several dozen, reports say.
Residents in Tripoli say the fighting has been some the worst in recent months. The country’s only functioning airport has been badly damaged and parts of northern Libya are at risk of going dry after armed men stormed a power station belonging to the government’s water authority.
Al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord, has been able to push back Haftar’s forces which have the support of Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Appeals from the European Union to all foreign countries earlier this year to stop supplying arms and interfering in Libya and let peace talks proceed have gone nowhere