Haftar of Libya 'nothing but a pirate': Erdogan

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the Libyan warlord as nothing more than a pirate in comments published on Thursday amid growing tensions in the North African country.

Turkey supports the national unity government internationally recognized in Tripoli , which Haftar has been trying to overthrow from its base in the east of the country.

Six Turkish sailors were briefly detained by Haftar's forces this week after he blamed Turkey for his loss of a key town.

Haftar is nothing more than a pirate, Erdogan told reporters in comments published in several local newspapers.

We hope that in a short time an opportunity to Libya elections are taking place and people take the opportunity to represent their rights democratically, he added.

Erdogan confirmed in June that Turkey was provided weapons to the Tripoli government, saying it was necessary to "rebalance" the fight against Haftar, who has the backing of Turkey 's rivals, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates .