Turkey may now intervene directly in Libya’s proxy war after a military cooperation deal was ratified between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj.
Turkey may become the first actual foreign force to officially take part in the ongoing armed rivalry between Sarraj and his UN-recognized Government of National Accord and General Khalifa Haftar, who has the support of the Libyan National Army and the country’s Parliament, based in the eastern city of Tobruk.
Control over the country is at stake and Turkey is sending signals that its troops are one call away, under the framework of their freshly-crafted partnership with Sarraj. Erdogan says the accord grants Turkey the right to deploy troops in Libya if the Tripoli asks for it.
The second part of the deal – a memorandum on maritime boundaries – draws a water corridor through the eastern Mediterranean linking the coasts of Turkey and Libya.
Greece has called the deal a violation of international law and sent the Libyan ambassador home in protest.
Erdogan has picked an opportune time to increase his regional clout, seeing as there’s no unified front to oppose him.
Nine years after the NATO-led intervention, the only constant in Libya is chaos. Its two governments, neither of which actually controls the entire country, have different backers, not always opposed to each other when the Libya button is off.
Greece has launched a diplomatic offensive to punish Turkey for its maritime accord, but the EU meeting on the issue has produced nothing apart from a condemnation for Turkey’s actions. Sanctions were said to be loaded but not fired since then.
The US’ bipolar stance of supporting the UN-backed GNA and maintaining dialogue with Haftar doesn’t add any more clarity.
Libya is now a twisted chessboard and the colors of the pieces is not always clear. Such a game can go on for a long time, and new players with guns can both bring the end closer… and set the board on fire.
Turkey’s double deal with Libya’s GNA could have implications beyond regional politics and business. Ankara’s roller-coaster relationship with NATO has recently slipped on numerous occasions.
US senators backed legislation last week to impose sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system earlier this year and its recent military operation in northern Syria.
Erdogan also said he was ready to kick US forces out of Incirlik Air Base in case sanctions were applied.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.