Turkish-Russian Understandings Draw Libya’s Political Map

بوتين و اردوغان

The National Accord Government in Libya has announced to be controlling the whole Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey have reached new understandings in Libya. They are linked with the interests of both countries, which might be affected by the fall of the Government of National Accord and the emergence of a new regime.

Turkey in particular seems to link all its interests with the Accord Government.

Turkey and Russia are the only countries who have armed forces in Libya.

The Russian ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yurkhov, announced that Turkey and Russia have close goals and objectives in Libya, prompting them to work on finding a settlement in the country.

Syria, Compromises behind the Borders

The compromise between Russians and Turkey in Libya might be an extension for similar compromises in Syria, especially that Russia could be willing to turn the page of Idlib, the last rebels’ stronghold in Syria, and Turkey is aware of the importance of its presence in Libya after losing its influence in Sudan and the tensions taking place in Tunisia.

In the light of current circumstances, Turkey’s presence and influence in Libya is a priority and more important than its influence in Syria. This means when forces of the accord government could advance, the Syrian opposition forces might be retreating in Idlib.

It’s noteworthy that Turkey’s relations with Cyprus and Greece are tense too, due to Turkey’s gas exploration in the Mediterranean.

Turkey is aware that ending its presence in Libya, means being completely expelled from Africa, and its interests are eliminated there. There is no doubt that the fall of the accord government will affect Turkish support for the Renaissance Movement in Tunisia, which is close to the MB, and consequently the Renaissance influence.

Other parties and manifold game

The US has also interfered in the Libyan issue by deploying US troops on the Tunisian-Libyan borders. This might thwart the Turkish strategy of being the sole decision maker in Libya, particularly after the EU – Washington’s ally – refuses such a scenario. The EU fears that the AKP government might control its maritime borders and use them as a political pressure card against EU, similar to what it does on Greece’s land borders.

Libya is one of the first countries, from which boats of illegal migrants are sent to the EU. Some international sides accuse militias affiliated with the accord government of facilitating the illegal migration from Libya.

Turkey will be mistaken if it believes that an agreement with Russia could guarantee its presence in Libya, as Ankara needs more international agreements and hard compromises to stay in Libya, especially with the EU states.

The situation in Libya is far different from Syria, as in Libya there are major international players and the game is more complicated.

Turkey and Russia are accused of sending thousands of fighters within the past few months, where Turkey has around 6,000 fighters, while Russia has deployed groups of Wagner’s mercenaries.

Simultaneously, Syrian human rights organizations confirmed that the Russian army recruited hundreds of Syrian young men and sent them to Libya.

On the other hand, the announcement of the accord government’s acceptance of a political dialogue with the leaders of the Libyan army might not be serious, specifically in terms of timing, as it could coincides with the success of the accord government’s forces.

Apparently, the accord government alongside Turkey would be trying to gain more time to stabilize the situation and trying to reach political agreement with other international parties.

The Russian interests in Libya are represented in obtaining oil production and refining contracts as well as contracts for economic investments in the reconstruction sector. Additionally, Russia is trying to reinforce its presence in the Mediterranean through its presence in Libya, in addition to Syria.

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