The Turkish regime plays a suspicious role in fueling conflict and chaos in Libya by allowing arms smuggling to the conflicting militias. Ankara has been proven to be involved in helping and supporting Iran in opening commercial markets for its weapons by smuggling it to militias in Libya.
A recent report submitted by experts to the UN Security Council revealed that Iranian weapons are now invading Libya with the help of the Turkish government, as the Turkish-backed armed factions in the former Government of National Accord (GNA) received the Dehleyvah anti-tank missile system, in addition to the Misagh-2 MANPADS mobile air defense system. Both were manufactured in Iran, in clear violation of United Nations sanctions imposed on Tehran, as well as an arms embargo on Libya aimed at defusing the civil war that has been raging for nearly 10 years.
The security report confirmed that Turkey acquired the Iranian defense system some time ago, before it was smuggled to the armed groups affiliated with the GNA.
It is noteworthy that cooperation in military affairs between Turkey and Iran has been strongly active after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, which led to the overthrow of a large section of officers loyal to NATO from the Turkish armed forces after their rejection of Iranian diplomatic initiatives that aimed to improve bilateral relations, despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s relations with the generals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the increasing role of Iran in the Turkish National Intelligence Service, which is run by Hakan Fidan, who is largely loyal to the mullah regime.
The biggest proof of this when Bahram Qassemi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said in August 2017, that the failed coup in Turkey facilitated the beginning of a breakthrough in bilateral relations between Ankara and Tehran, saying, “Iran’s support for Turkey in the wake of the coup attempt led to a new reversal in bilateral relations, and Ankara has told us that it is ready to meet any requests from Iran.”
The UN report confirmed that the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran reached its climax when Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar received Iranian Chief of Staff General Mohammad Bagheri in Ankara in August 2017, which was the first visit of its kind since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Bagheri also made a second visit in 2019 to hold unprecedented talks with the Turkish leadership, with the aim of overcoming differences over the Syrian crisis and coordinating policy on Iraq.
An investigation called Uniting Peace launched by the Turkish prosecutor in 2011 revealed a sophisticated spy network run by Iran’s Quds Force in Turkey. The investigation revealed the extent and depth of Iranian elements’ infiltration into Turkish institutions and also revealed Erdogan’s secret relations with Revolutionary Guards generals and how Fidan’s intelligence service worked with the Iranian regime.
In a related context, a business group close to Erdogan violated the arms embargo imposed by the UN on Libya, as the Turkish ship Amazon violated the Security Council resolution by transferring illegal weapons to Libya, which included vehicles that serve as a command-and-control system, computer and C4 communications for the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone.
A commercial group that owns a marine company has also helped the Turkish government in violating the UN arms embargo on Libya, and a Turkish marine company has transferred weapons to Turkey-backed factions in Libya.