Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to send military forces to Libya, and the parliament has approved that move, EU Observer reported.
Turkey is ready to support the UN-backed government against general Khalifa Haftar. However, sending troops to Libya turns the proxy war into a real international conflict, has many similarities to the war in Syria. Erdogan’s move is likely to complicate the war in Libya further, the experts suggest.
The civil war has sparked in Lybia in 2013 after a disagreement on the election results. When the party of the Muslim Brotherhood lost the elections for the second time, they decided to leave the parliament. After that, the official parliament left Libya’s capital Tripoli and went to the eastern city of Benghazi.
Because the two parliaments in one country mean chaos, and the United Nations decided to form a government of national accord (GNA) lead by Fayez al-Sarraj. Despite these UN efforts, GNA was never recognised by forces on the ground and triggered general Khalifa Haftar to take Libya from the east by force.
The strongman Haftar was able to take most of Libya but got stuck in Tripoli, where GNA and Muslim Brotherhood are based.
The Libyan war quickly became an international proxy war with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Russia and France supporting Haftar. On the other side, GNA led by Sarraj and the Muslim Brotherhood received support from Qatar, Turkey and Italy.
Turkish move complicates the civil war in Lybia
Egypt immediately condemned the Turkish decision to send the troops to Lybia, saying it would “negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region” and calling for the international community to react.
Turkey’s vice-president, Fuat Oktay, said that the vote was intended as a political signal to deter Haftar’s offensive, which has threatened Tripoli and outlying towns.
“We are ready. Our armed forces and our defence ministry are ready,” Oktay told the state-run news agency Anadolu.
Turkey’s move comes days after Israel, Egypt, Greece and Greek Cyprus decided to establish exclusive economic zones (EEZs) for natural gas exploration, isolating Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea despite Ankara has already signed a maritime jurisdiction agreement with Libya’s GNA. That deal gives Turkey rights to swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.