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EXCLUSIVE: Turkey's intervention in Libya to expand 'regional goals' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

EXCLUSIVE: Turkey's intervention in Libya to expand 'regional goals'

Erdogan is a close ally of the GNA [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2019

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An anonymous Libyan politician says Turkey has a number of vested interests in its recent intervention in Libya
Turkey’s forthcoming intervention in Libya will come at a very strategic time, a Libyan politician has said. 

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a motion to parliament to approve a military deployment in support of the UN-backed government in Libya, a close ally of Turkey. 

An anonymous Libyan politician told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site that Turkey's decision to deploy troops to Libya could give Ankara a strategic advantage in the Libyan quagmire.

The politician said that Turkey plans to establish a military foothold before an anticipated meeting of foreign ministers in Tripoli, where the UN-backed government led by Fayez al-Sarraj is based.

He said the French, Italian and German foreign ministers will meet in Tripoli on January 7 and that Ankara is trying to strengthen is military leverage in Libya before this date.

The politician added that Turkey wishes to reduce the influence of its geopolitical rivals Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who back rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar. 

'He wouldn't speak to us'

Meanwhile, Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar refused to speak to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu was questioned by Turkish opposition parliamentarians regarding contact with Haftar and stressed that Ankara had repeatedly tried to contact him.

Read also: UN envoy warns of 'escalation' in Libya conflict

"We sent an invitation to him, but he did not accept," he said.

Turkey and its regional ally Qatar have already supplied an array of weapons to the Tripoli government, including drones, and now say they will increase military aid to the beleaguered government.

Rogue General Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Turkey's regional rivals Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates launched an offensive to capture Tripoli in April. 

Libya was plunged into chaos in 2014, when rogue General Khalifa Haftar's self-styled "Libyan National Army" unilaterally launched "Operation Dignity" against rival militias who had taken part in the overthrow of  Muammar Gaddafi . Libya is now divided between the GNA and a rival administration based in Tobruk in eastern Libya. 

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