Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become confined to the red lines imposed on him by the active states in the region. He has not moved an inch within Libya after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned him that Sirte and Jufra represent a red line.
Erdogan also failed to achieve his goals in Syria after Russian warnings that restrained his ambitions there. The same thing was repeated in the Mediterranean and Greek territorial waters, where the Turkish leader took a step back after French President Emmanuel Macron sent military aid to protect the Greek coasts.
In the third and final part of this file, we discuss how Egypt put the Turkish president in his place and confined him to the red line imposed by Sisi.
Egypt brought Erdogan back to normal size when Sisi announced on June 20 that Sirte and Jufra represent a red line for Egypt’s national security, due to the armed militias and illegal Turkish interference. No one, whether terrorist militias, mercenaries or the invading Turkish forces, have dared to bypass this red line, even though Ankara was mobilizing all its naval, air and land forces, in addition to transporting thousands of mercenaries to Libya in order to invade the two cities.
The targeting of Libya’s Watiya air base southwest of Tripoli, which is under the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) militias and Turkey, constituted a turning point in the Libyan crisis, as it coincided with Turkish efforts to emphasize Ankara’s great influence in Libya, as well as in light of the precision of the bombing and the large losses resulting from it.
According to an analysis published by the Future Center for Advanced Research and Studies, the strike showed the failure of Turkey, as Ankara was unable to monitor or respond to it. It also succeeded in limiting Turkey’s influence and thwarting the de facto policy that the Turkish regime was trying to impose on the ground. The strike also proved the existence of regional and international powers capable of changing the balance on the ground at any time, regardless of Turkey.
The military strike and the Egyptian-imposed red line pushed a number of mercenaries brought by Turkey to withdraw from Libya. This was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which explained that approximately 5,250 mercenaries returned to Syria out of more than 15,000 mercenaries recruited by Ankara to fight alongside the GNA in Libya.
Erdogan project toppled
The agreement between the Tobruk-based House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based GNA Presidency Council led by Fayez al-Sarraj to implement a ceasefire and return to the political path towards organizing parliamentary and presidential elections next spring has largely toppled Erdogan’s project, in light of both Libyan parties calling for the exit of foreign forces and mercenaries from the country, in addition to securing Sirte and Jufra with regular police forces from different regions of the country.
The ceasefire agreement also stipulated the return of pumping Libyan oil to foreign markets, provided that revenues are deposited in an account with the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) and remain frozen until a political solution is reached. This in turn cuts off the financing of outlaw militias, mercenary groups and terrorists.
Terrible defeat for the Turkish project
The ceasefire agreement represents a terrible defeat for the Turkish project in Libya. Ankara, which has continued to beat the drums of war and work to extend its influence over Libya’s areas of wealth, especially the Oil Crescent, has no choice but to submit to the status quo, as there is no longer room for attempts to extort the GNA, especially as the agreement has been achieved under American pressure on both parties and guarantees from Washington that none of them will go beyond the understandings of the agreement. This also completely restrains Erdogan’s mercenaries and begins the process of deporting them and dismantling the militias in the west of the country. Furthermore, it endeavors to integrate the regular military forces under the command of the Sarraj government into the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Big slap for the Turkish president
Sarraj’s decision to resign from his post in October following the conflicts in the western region comes as a major blow to the Turkish president, because it means that he is losing his primary ally, who had opened the doors wide to Libya with the maritime border demarcation agreement between Ankara and the GNA, the expansion of exclusive economic zones in Libya, and supporting its competition in controlling the sources of energy and supply in the eastern Mediterranean. This was before Egypt entered and spoiled Turkey’s plan to rob Libya’s resources and threaten its national security. Cairo succeeded in imposing a blockade on Erdogan in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East when it set a red line that no one dares pass due to the strength of Egypt and fear of its reaction.