Mahdy al-Haraty kisses Erdogan's head - FILE
CAIRO – 19 January 2020: A picture of a "terrorist" kissing Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's head resurfaced online, further revealing the history of the relationship between the Turkish leader and terrorist organizations.
Al-Mahdy al-Haraty is a name that has emerged lately in Libya, after Turkey sent hundreds of Syrian fighters to the North African country to join the ranks of the Faiez al-Sarraj's government in Tripoli.
It is believed that Haraty, an Irish-Libyan, played a major role in this transfer of militants, especially that he has strong ties with the extremist Syrian factions, as well as Erdoğan.
According to al-Arabiya news website, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Haraty is the "engineer" of that transfer and played the biggest role in recruiting and receiving them in Tripoli.
Towards the end of 2019, a battalion that belongs to the Libyan National Army revealed that Haraty recruited the Syrian terrorists who fought under his command in a militia known as "Liwa al-Ummah" to assist Sarraj's government. The said battalion found a Liwa al-Ummah identity card of Haraty with the name Yassine Abu Ubaida in a Libyan site they had freed.
Mahdy al-Haraty's Liwa al-Ummah's ID - FILE
Although he has not been seen for a few years, signs of his activities in Libya have been apparent at the front-lines in Libya. He acts like the "man behind the scenes" in the Turkish military plan in Libya, and the first reference in coordinating and securing the arrival of the foreign fighters and Turkish weapons in Libya.
He is now the leader of "Liwa Tarablus," or the Tripoli Brigade, and he has a long history of violence and terrorism as he previously fought in Kosovo and Iraq.
He lived in Ireland for 20 years and came to Libya when the protests began in 2011. He led the "Tripoli Revolutionaries" battalion at the time until late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was murdered.
Haraty in Libya - FILE
In 2012, he moved to Syria and established "Liwa al-Ummah," which included Syrian and Libyan terrorists, and based his group in rural Idlib. He then returned to Libya and supervised the recruitment and training and of extremists to fight in the country as part of the Islamic State group, or to send them to Turkey and then Syria.
Haraty's relationship with Erdogan began in 2010, when he was aboard a humanitarian aid ship that was heading to Gaza, and Israel attacked the volunteers. He was sent to a Turkish hospital, where he met the president.
Haraty with Abdel Hakim Belhaj, known as "Qatar's man in Libya." - FILE
In 2011, signs of wealth began to appear on Haraty and his family. In July 2011, his house in Ireland was raided and his wife reported the robbery of jewelry worth 200,000 euros. The Irish authorities investigated the source of that money, given Haraty's modest income. He claimed he acquired that money for toppling Gaddafi.