As the Turkish involvement in Libya is expanding, it reached the southern region of Libya, according to the Journalist Al-Jamei Qasimi. This expansion coincides with the advance of the National Accord Government’s forces, attempting to take full control over the coastline via Sirte that is controlled by the Libyan army led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Sirte is one of the biggest and most important Libyan cities with an oil port. For the past few months, the Libyan army took control over Sirte during its military operation that aimed at entering the city of Tripoli.
Libyan sources have previously revealed that Turkey tends to control the Tamanhint base in southwestern Libya, to open the road which leads to the Sharara and al-Fil oil fields. The sources point out that the base of Tamanhint belongs to the city of Sabha, the largest city in southern Libya and the most important military base that overlooks the road linking Sabha and the areas of Al-Jafra located in the middle of the country, and links the regions of the south to the north, according Al-Arab newspaper.
If the attempts to control the Libyan north were hit by the Russian influence, Turkey’s attempts to expand in the south will be hit by the French interests. According to Qasimi, the southern province of Fazan is an area of French influence, and the Turkish moves will not provoke France to interfere directly and protect its interests there.
The Central African region is assumed to be a French sphere of influence, as the countries of that region include dozens of French military bases that were established during the French colonial period.
A political analyst talked to MENA Research and Study Center, explaining the importance of the southern Libyan region for Turkey, as it is considered as the main way for illegal immigration from Africa to EU, and Turkey aims at controlling that immigration.
“Controlling migration from Africa to Europe increases the Turkish pressure cards against the EU, especially since the AKP ruling government has become aware that Turkey will never become an EU member as long as it is ruling.”
Operations of illegal immigration are active in the middle of the Africa, where migrants travel through southern Libya to the coast.
Political and human rights authorities accused the leaders of military groups and southern Libyan tribes that support the Accord Government of controlling some migration routes from Libyan territory.
“Turkey’s control over the route of illegal immigration from Libya means controlling the European borders,” the analyst says, pointing out that this file should not be underestimated, especially as Turkey controls the entire eastern maritime border and part of the eastern land borders of the European Union. Additionally, the refugees’ crisis is a very sensitive matter that might affect the internal EU affairs in overturning many political balances in the EU, according to the analyst.
Everyone remembers that Turkey opened the borders for immigrants to cross its western borders months ago. Therefore, still the migration to Europe could be used as a political pressure towards the EU.
Thus, we can imagine how the situation will be in Europe if Turkey would let immigrants to cross into the EU through its eastern borders and southern maritime borders at the same time.
Therefore, controlling the entire North African coast and the southern region of Libya is very crucial for Turkey in its political disputes with the EU.
Reda Boudhara Al-Husseini, a member of the Algerian Muslim Brotherhood, who resides in Turkey, has previously tweeted celebrating the developments in Libyan, considering those events as a prelude to what he described as the liberation of the Algerian people and the people of the region after that. Political analysts considered his tweet as an indication to Turkey’s intentions to expand in North Africa.
The analyst confirms that France has already started diplomatic and military moves to confront Turkey’s expansion in the south, especially as leaked information indicates that Turkey plans to conduct a qualitative and quick military operation in the south. He noted that the visit of Turkish Defense Minister, Khulusi Akar to Libya a few days ago was linked to that purpose.
Mohamed Abu al-Fadl, a political analyst, believes that the Turkish plans are not limited to Libya or North Africa, pointing out that Ankara has ties with many militias of extreme ideology, which might help it to penetrate into the region, he said.
Abu Al-Fadl insists that the attention of the Turkey-affiliated forces will inevitably turn towards the south of Libya, but after fully controlling the capital Tripoli and the western regions, given that eastern Libya, which is controlled by the Libyan army, would be still out of consideration for Turkey and the Accord government at this stage.
The city of Benghazi in eastern Libya is sphere of influence for the Libyan army and the political and official institutions supporting it, such as parliament and the transitional government.
It is noteworthy that the eastern region is one of the richest oil regions.