Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leading the economy of his country astray because of his illusory dream of rebuilding the Ottoman Empire.
Erdogan’s dreams are causing him to clash head-on with regional states, the thing that is negatively affecting the Turkish economy.
Libya has fallen in the heart of Erdogan’s expansionist strategies. He backed the militias affiliated to the Islamist-led National Accord Government and offered arms to these militias, especially during the latest battle in the northwestern Libyan city of Gharyan.
Erdogan’s goals in Libya were not political and military only. The Turkish ruler also had economic goals he wanted to achieve in the North African state.
Until 2011, Turkey invested $38.9 billion in Libya. Around 25,000 Turkish nationals also worked in Libya. Erdogan was dreaming of laying his hands on Libya’s huge natural gas production.
In February 2019, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled National Accord Government Fayez al-Sarraj welcomed Turkish investments back to his country, especially in the areas controlled by his government.
A conference on Turkish development and investments was also held in Istanbul. The conference called for the formation of a joint Turkish-Libyan panel to organize Turkish investments in Libya.
Nevertheless, the ongoing march by the National Libyan Army towards Libyan capital Tripoli has confused Turkish calculations. The campaign has threatened Turkish aspirations in Libya, which is why Erdogan is publicly opening a new front against the National Libyan Army.
However, this showdown is causing harm to Turkish companies operating in Libya which have become a main target for the army. This is especially true with these companies becoming main supporters of Turkish action in Libya.
Erdogan’s policies are causing untold losses to the Turkish companies. Turkish companies invest now around $19 billion in Libya
The collapse of economic activities and the suspension of the activities of Mitiga International Airport also caused economic losses to Turkey. The airport used to stand at the center of economic activities worth $3 billion every year.
Turkish investors are no longer wanted inside Libya. Libyan companies have lost overdue money of around $1 billion, according to the official Turkish news agency Anadolu.
The economic crisis in Turkey compounds the effects of the losses Turkey is sustaining in Libya. The Turkish minister of trade expressed hopes a few weeks ago that his country’s trade relations with Libya would return to normal.
Secretary-General of the Libyan Popular Movement, Mustafa al-Zaydi, attributed Erdogan’s actions in Libya to his desire to make successes on foreign territories that make up for his internal failures.
The Libyan people, he said, suffered a lot because of Turkey.
He noted that Turkey’s actions in Libya harm Egypt’s security and the security of the Arab Maghreb as a whole.