Turkey has threatened to attack the Libyan National Army (LNA) after the eastern military detained six of its citizens, according to a Sunday Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.
“We are waiting for the release of our citizens immediately or else the elements of (the LNA) will become a legitimate target,” the Foreign Ministry said.
On Friday, the LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari announced that air flights between Libya and Turkey have been halted.
He said a press conference that any Turkish citizen spotted inside the Libyan territories would be arrested immediately.
For its part, Turkey’s Defense Minister Khulosi Akar warned on Sunday that Ankara would take a “firm action” against the LNA if it committed hostile acts against it.
Mismari, however, said the LNA’s procedures come as a result of the “Turkish interference” in the Libyan affairs, as Ankara has been providing GNA-allied militia with weapons for many months, which led to fierce resistance against the LNA in Tripoli.
Turkey have backed the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which expelled the LNA from its own base in Gharyan on June 26 after an attack that left loss of life in the ranks of the LNA.
On June 19, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that his country has sent shipments of weapons to Libya to support the GNA in its fighting with LNA.
Turkey has sent several shipments of weapons to Libya in the past several months, violating the U.N. resolution banning the sale and transfer of arms to Libya, despite denying sending those shipments at the time.