Turkey Looks to ‘Expand’ Its Role in Libya After Civil War Victory

Turkey may expand the conditions of its security agreement with Libya, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday, Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News reported.

On Wednesday, a Turkish delegation including foreign and finance ministers traveled to Tripoli to meet with members of Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). According to Ankara, the talks between the Turkish delegation and the GNA were held to negotiate a ceasefire for Libya by expanding the scope of the bilateral security engagement between the two nations, including military and financial cooperation.

“The scope of this cooperation may expand in the coming period. Once expanded, the scope of the agreement can also be expanded and reviewed. These can be modified according to the necessities,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told broadcaster CNN Türk.

Çavuşoğlu said that the talks also addressed “Turkish firms returning to Libya after the conflict.” A senior Turkish official speaking to Reuters anonymously on Friday confirmed this, adding that the two sides discussed “payments owed to Turkish companies for past energy and construction work in Libya.”

According to the official, the Turkish delegation and the GNA considered ways Turkey could help oil-rich Libya “in energy exploration and operations,” and support Libyan resources reaching global markets.

“Many parts of the country are in debris, there is a serious need for infrastructure and superstructure. Turkish companies … are in a position to rapidly begin such work,” the official added.

In November 2019, Turkey officially announced its support of the GNA, signing landmark pacts with Libya on military cooperation and boundaries in the Mediterranean. On Friday, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would work together with Italy, a fellow Mediterranean nation, “for permanent and sustainable peace” in Libya and to ensure “a political process” that will yield positive results for the country. At a press conference in Ankara with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Turkey’s foreign minister said that the two NATO allies could also “cooperate” in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We are thankful to Italy for not siding with putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Libya, unlike many other countries,” Çavuşoğlu said.

He referred to the GNA’s opposition in Libya, rebel leader Khalifa Haftar, who commands the Libyan National Army (LNA), supported by Russia and other nations, including Syria, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey is the GNA’s biggest backer.

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