The international community is urging mercenaries and foreign forces to leave the country, which has been bogged down in endless conflict for ten years. Ankara is still defending itself by saying that its military presence in Libya is legal. The statements made earlier this week in Tripoli by Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush on the need for all mercenaries to leave the country have sparked controversy in western Libya.
It was during the joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart, Najla al-Mangoush reiterated the need for the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from Libyan soil. But Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed instead that the presence of Turkish forces in Tripoli was completely legal in view of the agreement signed with the Sarraj government.
Since then, the Libyan minister has been violently attacked and threatened by militias attached to the Muslim Brotherhood and allied with Turkey. Some are calling for her resignation.
“We are astonished by the position of the minister, who puts the Turkish proxy forces on the same level as the Wagners and the Janjaweed,” wrote the leader of a militia in Tripoli. Another, in Misrata, says exactly the same as Ankara: the Turkish presence is legal.
As for the former mufti of Tripoli, spiritual leader of the Islamist militias, he called for demonstrations by the thousands to “protest against the minister and defend Turkey,” adding that he was the only support “in the face of Marshal Haftar’s forces, which were then on the verge of entering Tripoli.
The provisional executive has neither the capacity nor the prerogatives to impose this withdrawal, which will have to wait until the next elected government is installed.
Elections are expected to be held on December 24, the date set by the United Nations during the Geneva agreement last fall, but the agenda has been greatly delayed. The implementation of the Geneva decisions has also been delayed, making it unlikely that elections will be held before the end of the year.