Turkey and Its Neo-Ottoman Strategy in Libya

التنقيب التركي عن النفط

Economic accounts, this is the starting point from which the political researcher Jana Jabour of the Institut d’Études Politiques Paris, is the starting point of Turkish interests in Libya that are not limited to political goals and ideological agendas.

The financial and economic dimension of the Turkish intervention would appear in the “winner with winner” principle that Jabour referred to in its vision about the alliance between the Turkish AKP and the Libyan Government of National Unity.

According to her, this alliance equation would be based on granting the National Unity Government a political and military support to confront the Libyan army, while Ankara in return will maintain its economic interests, specifically in the energy and construction fields.

The researcher indicates that the mutual interests could be completely collapse, if the Libyan army would control the capital, Tripoli.

Until last March, the Turkish-Libyan Business Council estimated the Turkish investment in Libya at $120 billion in all sectors, foremost of which is the contracting sector. Experts expect the value of Turkey’s exports to Libya this year could be reaching $3 billion.

Energy and Black Gold Conflict in Mediterranean

 According the director of the Arab Strategic Studies Center, Samir Ragheb, black wealth in Libya, or what might be called the Libyan Energy Spout, is one of the main Turkish political and economic interests in Libya.

In his statements to Al Bayan newspaper, Ragheb refers to the clear Turkish desire to invest in the oil and gas sectors in the Libyan lands and regional waters through direct Turkish intervention in Libya.

The Turkish government is already disputing with Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Israel over gas exploration operations in the Mediterranean with the estimation of approximately 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil reserves.

Turkish interest in the Libyan gas as part of the conflict in the Mediterranean also appears through the agreements of demarcating the water borders between Libya and Turkey.

With those agreements, Mahmoud Samir Al Rantisi, a researcher specialized in Turkish affairs, sees that Turkey would have the ability to spoil all international and regional plans preventing Turkey from using the energy resources and linking gas fields with the European markets.

The Turkish Petroleum Company Taobao had submitted a request to the Libyan Unity Government to obtain permission for drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.

The New Ottoman Project

According to the analyzer Imad Al-Medever, Turkey’s interest in Libyan oil and gas is attributed to the complexity of the economy mixed with politics.

“The new Ottoman is a real project that Turks are working on, and part of it is driven by economic interests, through which Turkey wants to gain control over the gas deposits outside Cyprus and disrupting joint gas projects between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus. And here I stress that the Turkish project will not end with Libya,” al-Medever says.

Turkey is accused by the Tunisian opposition of adopting a colonial policy through the economic agreements concluded with the Renaissance Movement that is close to the Muslim Brotherhood. This prompted the Tunisian parliament a few days ago to postpone the vote on economic agreements with Turkey.

Reconstruction and Old Investments

Despite the great importance of oil and gas sectors for Turkey, particularly in the Mediterranean, the Turkish economic interests are also connected to resuming the old Turkish investments in Libya that has been suspended.

The director of the Arab Strategic Studies Center, Samir Ragheb, confirms that the Turkish plan would aim at being a part of Libyan reconstruction, pointing out that this plan would be based on the destruction, in reference to the Turkish military presence in Libya.

French media reports have estimated the cost of rebuilding Libya at $100 billion after nearly nine years of war.

Talking about the Turkish endeavor to be part of the reconstruction process in Libya was not limited to theories. In semi-official statements Turkey, the President of the Turkish-Libyan Council for Foreign Economic Relations, Mortada Karenville stated that the Turkish investment opportunities in Libya would be estimated at $ 120 billion, including great opportunities for reconstruction.

According to the head of the Turkish Contractors Association, Medhat Yeniegen, the old Turkish investments in Libya that have been suspended since the revolution that overthrew the regime of Muammar Gaddafi would be an essential part of the Turkish economic interests in Libya.

Since the revolution, Turkish companies have deserted their projects in Libya, leading to an unemployment of 25,000 Turkish workers in addition to enormous losses estimated at $1 b and to $ 1.3 b estimated losses of equipment and stocks.

This coincides with accusations by Libyan opposition and army leaders that Turkey attempts to do what it already did in Syria’s Aleppo, when it transferred dozens of factories and workhouses from Aleppo to Turkey.

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