Turkey seeks to establish a real presence in Libya

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Supporting the national unity government in Libya and the politicians close to the AKP’s rhetoric has become a strategic goal for Turkey.

But it remains unclear what the future power distribution and political structure of the country will look like.

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According to international news agencies, Turkey’s special interest and approach to the geopolitics of Libya in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean continues, and the Libyans were guests of Turkey for the second time during the past two years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a two-hour meeting with the exiled Libyan President Muhammad Yunus and his accompanying delegation in Istanbul yesterday.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

Erdogan, who had previously laid the foundation stone for Fayez al-Sarraj, raised the protocol to a higher level for him, and raised the Libyan flag at the entrance to the palace (where the meeting was held).

Turkey, Libya, and the Sisi factor

Analysis conducted by The Arab Weekly indicates that the defeat of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the occupation of Tripoli, as well as the political defeat of Aqila Saleh, caused the gradual overthrow of Egyptian President General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Haftar will not have a prominent position in Libya in the future and must reconcile with the interim government in order to maintain stability in Libya.

But in the meantime, to what extent will the Turkish-Egyptian relations be affected by this situation?

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In response, it should be noted that tangible progress has been made in recent weeks in the normalization of relations between Ankara and Cairo, and it seems that the easing of tensions between Turkey and Egypt will directly affect the Libyan situation and perhaps the two countries.

Just as they respected each other in the matter of defining continental maritime territories, they would reach a point in Libya where they would each have a reasonable share of the pie and would not pay each other.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had previously refused to talk about Libya with anyone other than Aqila Saleh and General Haftar.

But in the midst of the change in Cairo’s position, it suffices for Sisi to speak to Muhammad al-Najafi by phone and in person. To know that he has established good relations with Turkey.

The way forward, the Libyan elections and the situation in Turkey

Less than two months ago, in a vote by the Libyan Political Dialogue Association to elect interim government officials.

Muhammad Manfi was elected president, and Abd al-Hamid Dabaib was elected as the new prime minister in the interim Libyan government.

However, according to the agreement of all groups, Muhammad Manfi and Abdel Hamid Dabaib will serve as President and Prime Minister until December 24, 2021.

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The parties will hold presidential and general elections in Libya on December 24, 2021.

Accordingly, the current team has 8 months to stabilize its position, after which the authority’s mission in the area of ​​weightlifting and the election campaign must be clarified.

Given the complexities of the tribal structure of Libyan society and the interference of many regional and non-regional actors, it is not possible to predict from now on to what extent the Libyan atmosphere will be suitable for a Turkish military presence.

But one can take into account the fact that Turkey’s presence and influence will be the result of several important factors, the most important of which is the competition of international powers.

Given that Joe Biden’s team has not yet made a specific decision on Libya and that NATO has remained silent about it, it is not yet clear what Washington’s position will be regarding the increase in Russia and Turkey’s strength in Libya.

Meanwhile, another important regional factor that could influence Turkey’s position in Libya is the future relations between Ankara and Cairo.

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If talks continue between the diplomatic authorities in Egypt and Turkey, and the two sides move towards normalizing relations, the way will be paved for Erdogan’s team to have a better position in Libya.

Another important factor affecting the future of Libya is the outcome of the Libyan constitution draft meetings, which Tunisia and Egypt hosted several times.

Its primary purpose is to draft a law on elections, referendums and political competition on December 24 this year that will be very important and crucial.

It is clear regarding the issue of drafting the constitution that Egypt enjoys the advantages of hosting and an Arab identity, and Turkey cannot hope to achieve the desired results in this field as much as Egypt.

However, Turkey has experience in the Syrian arena, the Geneva talks, and efforts to reform the Syrian constitution, and is trying to get a larger share of Libya’s future structure.

Because in all three Mediterranean, Arab and African regions, in order to preserve interests and expand their influence, the land of Libya is considered an important and strategic land.

Of course, Turkey stands with Libya, not only with actors such as Russia, the United States and Egypt, but also with the European Union, and the competition with an important actor called France has led to several tensions between Ankara and Paris.

Therefore, the Libyan issue is a sensitive and multifaceted issue for Turkey, and the evidence indicates that Turkey will spend more time and energy in managing this issue in the future.

Given the multiplicity of actors, it seems unlikely to gain peace of mind in the medium term.

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