Turkey, Libyan interim gov't in war of words

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Turkey on Thursday called on Libya's interim government to avoid statements against Turkey, warning of "necessary measures."

"We expect interim government officials review their irresponsible attitude and avoid hostile and baseless statements against our country," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said in a statement. "Unless a change in their attitude, we will have to take necessary measures."

The statement came after remarks by Libya's interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni, who accused Ankara of interfering in the domestic affairs of Libya and warned of ending contracts of Turkish businesses in the country.

Bilgic also cited a Libyan military official's statement accusing Turkey of supporting terrorists in Libya.

Such statements, the spokesperson said, do not reflect "the Libyan people's brother friendship" with Turkey.

"It's doubtful how much of these remarks are sourced from Libya," Bilgic said without elaboration.

Emrullah Isler, a former deputy prime minister and the deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, was designated as a special representative of Turkey to hold meetings with Libyan authorities.

Isler, who paid two visits to Libya in 2014, is believed to be the first foreign official that has met with Libya's self-declared prime minister Omar al-Hassi, who set up his own cabinet in Tripoli and forced the internationally recognized prime minister, Thinni, to move to eastern Libya.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has advised Turkish citizens in Libya to evacuate "immediately."

Libya, a major oil producer in North Africa, has been witnessing a frayed political process after its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled during the 2011 political turmoil. The country is now juggling between two rival parliaments and governments. Endit

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