What is Turkey’s endgame in Libya?

Erdoğan’s strategy in Libya is about domestic legitimacy as much as regional projection – but past failures hang heavy.

Turkey’s reimagining of the Pax Ottomana has not made many friends in the region, and it currently finds itself at odds with Egypt, UAE and Greece to name a few. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made very clear his ambition that Turkey will be a leader in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East and North Africa region. Turkey’s new strategic direction continues to be conducted with hubris and polemics as Erdoğan envisions Turkey’s role beyond a regional power to a “global one”.

Turkey’s engagement in Libya is one example and demonstrates a reorientation in Turkish foreign policy. Turkey continues to throw a lot of political and military weight in Libya and has tried to shift the balance of power in the conflict to its favour. Turkey’s supply of military equipment and financial support, as well as the deployment of Syrian mercenaries from the Syrian conflict, has tilted the scales in favour of Turkey’s ally – the Al-Sarraj interim Government of National Accord (GNA). GNA dominance is impeded, however, by General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) which continues to receive financial and military support from Egypt, UAE, Russia and France.

With the dynamics of the conflict changing daily and powerful forces working against Turkish ambitions in North Africa and the Mediterranean, does Erdoğan have a grand strategy in Libya? And what is Turkey’s “endgame”?

Libya is no stranger to external intervention. The country continues to be ravaged by militia groups and political divisions since the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. Control over Libya’s oil lines and wealth is a crucial factor in the continuing conflict between different centres of power, including GNA, LNA and other militia groups. Other powers have backed their respective proxies for a say in the future of Libya’s vast hydrocarbon network.

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Πηγή: lowyinstitute.org

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