Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has framed his country’s military deployment to Libya as a matter of survival, not only for Turkey’s strategic interests across the region but also for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).
The head of Libya’s High Council of State, Khalid al-Mishri, told MEE that Turkey’s upcoming military support to the GNA would prevent General Khalifa Haftar’s forces from taking control of Tripoli. From high-level political figures to military commanders on the frontline, I found consensus during a recent visit to Tripoli that Turkey is the only country able to push back Haftar and contribute to rebuilding the Libyan state.
Turkey’s new military step in the context of the Libyan conflict provides strategic leverage for both sides and will ultimately bring new dimensions – as well as challenges – to Ankara’s regional strategy.
On 27 November, Turkey and Libya signed two separate memorandums of understanding on military cooperation and the maritime boundaries of countries in the eastern Mediterranean region, aiming to achieve their mutual strategic objectives.
In the short term, the GNA aims to push back Haftar’s forces in Tripoli; in the medium term, the Libyans seek to consolidate their partnership with Turkey to find a real solution to contain Haftar and bring Ankara into the Libyan picture as an external balance.