Turkey says it will “retaliate in the most effective and strong way” to any threats from the Libyan warlord’s Khalifa Haftar’s army.

Reports say the warning came after General Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said it would strike Turkish vessels in Libyan waters and view Turkish businesses as targets.

The LNA controls most of the east and south of Libya and started an offensive against the internationally recognised government in April.

Turkey supports the Libyan government.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country supplies weapons and drones to Tripoli’s Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minster Fayez al-Sarraj.

He said Turkish backing helped “rebalance” the fight against General Haftar, who has backing from UAE and Egypt.

Turkish Defence Minister Huluski Akar warned that LNA forces would pay a “very heavy price” for any attacks on Turkish interests.

On Thursday, the GNA reclaimed the strategic town of Gharyan, a main supply base for General Haftar’s forces in their offensive on Tripoli.

Libya has been torn by violence and division since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.