December 20, 2019 / 11:22 AM / in 2 months

Erdogan: cannot remain silent on Russia-backed 'mercenaries' in Libya -NTV

ANKARA, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Turkey cannot remain silent against “mercenaries” like Russian-backed Wagner that support the forces of Khalifa Haftar in Libya, broadcaster NTV quoted President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Friday.

“Through the group named Wagner, they are literally working as Haftar’s mercenaries in Libya. You know who is paying them,” Erdogan said, according to NTV.

“That is the case, and it would not be right for us to remain silent against all of this. We have done our best until now, and will continue to do so,” he added.

Erdogan’s comments come a day after Libya’s internationally recognised government said it ratified a security and military accord between Ankara and Tripoli, opening the way for potential Turkish military help.

The Tripoli government is fighting a months-long offensive by Haftar’s forces based in the country’s east.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu, Ece Toksabay and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer

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