Haftar seizes Turkish workers as spies

Two Turkish workers in Libya were arrested and detained by the forces of Marshal Halifa Haftar, although the Turkish authorities firmly refute they are spies, the Turkish newspaper Habertürk said. Volkan Altinok and Mehmet Demir, who were working in a restaurant in southern suburb of Tripoli, were taken on 12 April to a prison near Benghazi.

Habertürk says the two Turks are suspected of espionage, according to media allied with the forces of Haftar, but the Turkish government denies the allegation saying these are “delusional accusations” that have been posted on “social networking sites”.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry avoided commenting on the case. The self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LSA) of Marshal Haftar launched the April 4 attack on Tripoli. However, it has failed to penetrate defensive positions in the southern suburbs of the capital, despite fierce battles.

The raid of the forces of Haftar has rocked the UN’s efforts to broker a peace deal between key rival parties claiming power in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in the revolt backed by NATO in 2011.

The government of Turkey is one of the supporters of the internationally recognized National Unity Government, based in Tripoli, in western Libya.