The process of sending foreign terrorists to Libya under the supervision of Turkey has not stopped since 2011.
Erdogan’s dreams are causing him to clash head-on with regional states. Libya has fallen in the heart of Erdogan’s expansionist strategies.
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.
The more the army makes progress in place, the more the Turkish support for terrorists will increase; Turkey has pushed more terrorists from Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to pursue a new foreign policy in order to extend Ankara’s influence to the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, and to gain strategic and economic gains as well, through political Islam groups with an ideological background in line with Turkey.
In this context, the Turkish government continues to support the hard-line militias in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, supplying them with mercenaries and arms. All to obstruct the advancement of the Libyan national army led by Khalifa Haftar against the militias that are being supported by Turkey and Qatar, especially with the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, Syria and Sudan.
Turkey’s support for Libya’s internationally-backed government aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict and secure more leverage in the scramble for oil and gas in the Mediterranean.
Turkey’s main goal in backing the Tripoli-based government of Fayez al-Sarraj is to ensure it will eventually be able to resume construction projects.
Restoring calm and keeping Sarraj’s government in place would also make it easier to demarcate maritime borders, helping Turkey expand its exclusive economic zones and strengthen its hand in the competition for control of energy resources and supply routes in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey is vying with Cyprus for control of potential offshore energy finds and wants to become the main conduit to Europe for natural gas supplies from the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey wants to repeat what happened in Syria again in Libya, and seeks to have negotiations for the division of Libya, and to have a role in these negotiations. Turkey considers Libya an empty space that can be used in military exercises and war games.
Turkey supports Islamists groups in Libya for its own interests, including the possession of Libyan oil and all the reconstruction projects. Turkey is increasing the complications of crises in the regions, such as supporting militias of al-Sarraj government, so that Ankara would have a seat at the international negotiations table regarding regional cases.
The Turkish intervention in Libya is due to the help of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is allied with the Libyan Presidential Council and governs largely in the capital Tripoli. The Libyan army threatens the Brotherhood on which Turkey depends to control the Arab countries, so Turkey is working to provide them with the necessary support so as not to make them lose control of Tripoli in any way.
Ankara wants to compete with France and Italy to impose influence in the Libyan territory, stressing that Turkey opposes Egypt and the United Arab Emirates because they help the Libyan national army led by Marshal Khalifa Hafter in his fight against terrorism.
Turkey wants to make Tripoli a fortified fortress in front of the progress of the Libyan army, and for that it supports the militias Al-Sarraj by aircrafts and heavy artillery.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said more than once that political Islamists groups is one of Turkey’s tools to improve its image in front of the world, as Ankara uses that to project itself as the first defender of everything that is “Muslim”, with an intention to trick all Muslims into being loyal to the country.
For the Turkish ruler, Libya is a good place for regrouping and regaining power, Sending special combat troops to Libya is not foreign to Ankara which sent similar troops to Syria in the past.
The battle in Tripoli is a profitable market for Turkey to dispose of some of its military exports, adding that its consensus with Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood makes the battle in Tripoli fateful for Ankara.
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.
Erdogan puts his full weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood whose militias fight side by side with the troops of the National Accord Government, led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
Turkish support to the Brotherhood reflects the calamity of the Islamist organization, both at the political level and in the field. This calamity is especially true in the light of determination by the Libyan National Army to bring down the expansionist project of the group.
Erdogan’s arming of the terrorist militias in Libya violates a United Nations arms embargo on the North African state. The Turkish ruler sent shipments of arms and ammunitions to Libya, along with drones in a desperate attempt to make the balance of power to tip in favor of Sarraj.
UN report finds Turkey violated Libya arms embargo. Turkey has regularly violated the UN arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011, according to a confidential report by UN experts.
Ankara “routinely and sometimes blatantly supplied weapons with little effort to disguise the source,” a summary of a year-long study by UN experts said.
The 85-page document and a more than 300-page annex includes pictures, maps and copies of ship manifests of cargos delivered to Libya by sea.