Reasons and Aims behind the Turkish Role in Libya

Recently, the Turkish government has been holding several meetings with representatives from the "Libyan Government of National Accord”; The most recent of which was the meeting between the Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 in Ankara. The visit was preceded by the meeting of the Turkish Ambassador to Libya with the Libyan Minister of Interior and the Libyan Minister of Justice to discuss the opportunities of judicial cooperation between the two countries. Turkey aimed by this move to avoid engaging in legal crises with the Libyan government; especially after detaining several illegal shipments coming from Turkey in several Libya ports. Add to that some of the Libyan Islamic groups who are listed as international terrorists such as Abdel Hakim Belhadj have held several meetings in Turkey. In the same context, the Turkish Ambassador held a meeting with the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salama in order to discuss the latest developments on the Libyan arena; especially the preparations for the National Conference. Turkey aimed by this meeting to emphasize the importance of the Turkish role in resolving the Libyan crisis. However, for Salama, he wanted to ensure that Turkey would not hinder the National Conference especially after its withdrawal from Palermo Conference.

Generally, when it comes to the reasons behind the Turkish role in Libya, one can mention two main reasons; firstly: Consolidating its influence in North Africa and the Sahel region as part of Erdogan’s expansionist ambitions through trying to restore its investments that were made before 2011, as well as getting a big share in the reconstruction projects that were announced by the Government of National Accord,  and secondly: establishing a friendly relationship with the Government of National Accord; especially after the failure of many Islamist leaders to continue in power and after the rise of the influence of Field Marshal "Hafter" in the country (known to reject the Turkish role in Libya), which is a threat to its interests in Libya.

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