Friday 03 July 2020
On an unannounced visit, Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, and Chief of the General Staff, General Yasar Guler, arrived today, Friday afternoon, to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and come to visit at a time when tensions are escalating in the Eastern Mediterranean region due to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s expansionist ambitions.
A military reception was held for the Turkish Minister at the Maitika International Airport, in the presence of the Libyan Deputy Minister of Defense Salahuddin Abdullah Al-Nimros, the Chief of the General Staff Muhammad Sharif, the Commander of the Navy Abdel Hakim Abu Hali, the Turkish Ambassador to Tripoli and other Turkish and Libyan officials.
After the reception, the Turkish Minister and his accompanying delegation went to the headquarters of the Consultative Command for Defense Security Cooperation and Training.
Erdogan said that he sent his defense minister to Libya with the aim of “continuing the existing cooperation in closer coordination”, while Turkish media clarified that the visit came “to discuss the activities carried out within the scope of the memorandum of understanding for security and military cooperation.”
On November 27, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with the Libyan government of reconciliation, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj; Its first part is on security and military cooperation between the two countries, and the second on sovereignty over the marine areas.
In the wake of this agreement, Turkey was able to find a foothold in oil and gas rich Libya, and began sending a large number of Syrian mercenaries who support them to Libya in addition to a huge amount of weapons, in order to help the bulldozer against Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan army.
This visit is not the first of its kind. About two weeks ago, a Turkish delegation, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoوlu, the Treasury and Finance Pratt al-Bayraq, Chief of Intelligence Hakan Fidan and a number of officials, visited the Libyan capital.
The Turkish delegation met with the head of the Al-Wefaq government, Al-Sarraj, to address “developments in Libya and international efforts to resolve the current crisis,” according to a press release issued by the Al-Wefaq government.
Beyond the visit
These visits come at a time when international pressure on Turkey has escalated, after the Turkish intervention provoked the condemnations and pressures of many European and Arab countries on the necessity of a ceasefire in Libya, and Turkey’s demand to stop military intervention and withdraw from Libya.
Ziyad Aql, an expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, believes that the visit of Turkish officials today is “a review of field policy for Turkey on the soil of Libya,” noting the amount of tremendous pressure, whether from Europe or the United States, on the idea not to cross the “Sirte line”.
Akl said, in statements to Masrawy, that the coming period could witness a kind of patience in the matter of progress east, explaining that “Turkey has begun to feel that the political cost will be very high, and therefore new policies must be developed to preserve the previous military gains.”
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had issued his warnings against approaching the “Sirte-Al-Jafra axis”, describing it as a “red line” for Egypt that is not allowed to be approached or targeted by the Turkish-backed militias, stressing that “any direct Egyptian intervention in Libya has become He has international legitimacy, “a warning that received widespread international support, which made it difficult for Erdogan to complete his plans to support the Saraj militia.
Akel pointed out to the economic aspect of cooperation between Ankara and the Tripoli government, which is “an effective part between the two sides,” as he put it, saying, “Turkey is arresting Libya for its right to exist.”
But at the same time, he pointed out that Turkey “is not ready to lose Europe and America, but rather wants to use its presence in Libya to the maximum degree to improve relations with Europe and America, especially in light of the current tension between Turkey and France.”
The French “Corbett” frigate operating in the surveillance of maritime security in the Mediterranean was searching a ship suspected of smuggling weapons to Libya, and was subjected to hostile action from 3 Turkish frigates, a new escalation between the two countries added in a dispute over the Libyan crisis, as Paris announced more than once Rejecting Turkish intervention in Libya, President Emmanuel Macron described this intervention as a “dangerous game” practiced by Ankara.
Although Dr. Ziyad Akl affirmed, in his speech to Masrawy, that Turkey’s actions were “unpredictable” and that “they are not concerned with the international community, nor with international decisions and laws,” but he was once again likely to “bow to the international pressure exerted on them regarding Libya.”
He also stressed his exclusion that the goal of visiting Turkish officials today is to “continue crawling east and discuss the kind of support that Al-Wefaq needs,” for fear of the consequences and the high cost to Turkey if it undertakes this step.
For its part, the UAE newspaper, Al-Ittihad, quoted Libyan military sources as saying that France is making moves within the European Union to pressure Turkey to exit the Libyan military scene.
The sources emphasized that Paris seeks to activate the political solution in Libya and spare the country a proxy war that directly affects the security and stability of the country, which will negatively affect the security and stability of European countries.