Erdogan Exploits the Libyan Crisis to Further His Own Interests

The two simultaneous visits by the outgoing head of the unity government, Abdulhamid Al-Dabaiba, and the head of the parliament-backed government, Fathi Bashaga, to Ankara to meet with Turkish officials revealed that Turkey is sticking to the file of a political solution in Libya, and that the field is open for a combination of a solutions that take into account Turkey’s interests.

Observers pointed out that Turkey benefited from the withdrawal of various influential countries in the Libyan file, especially Russia’s preoccupation with the war in Ukraine and the United States ‘ lack of enthusiasm to sponsor a Libyan – Libyan solution.

On Thursday, Dabaiba met with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and general intelligence chief Hakan Fidan.

According to the official platform of “our government”, these meetings come within the framework of “uniting international and local efforts to support the elections in Libya”.

The media office of the Bashaga government said on Wednesday that the head of the government appointed by the House of Representatives had gone to Turkey “to discuss the political track and ways of cooperation between the two countries”.

Observers expect that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will bring together the rivals Bashaga and Dibaiba in a joint meeting under his supervision, that  will be a gateway to melting the ice between the two men, whose statements have recently been characterized by hostility, especially after Bashaga repeated his efforts to enter the capital Tripoli by force of arms.

What is important for Turkey at this stage is to push for the reconciliation of Dibaiba and Bashaga, stop the military escalation and media campaigns, and build channels of communication between their governments in order to pave the way for a dialogue under the auspices of Turkey, leading to elections and a new political process that does not lead to the rise of an anti-Turkish political force.

Last month, Erdogan received the speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk, Aqila Saleh, and the deputy chairman of the Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi, in the capital, Ankara. The meeting took place away from the lenses of the media.

“We discussed the relations between the two countries and the political developments in Libya,” al-Lafi said in a statement on his official Facebook account.

He stressed that”the points of view agreed to preserve the unity of the Libyan territory, and to accelerate the electoral process through the necessary legislation and agreed through one strong government”.

“It was stressed that the military solution is excluded and all escalations that impede the building of a democratic civilian state are stopped,” he added.

Libyan News said that Bashaga’s recent campaign on the capital Tripoli was thwarted by the intervention of Turkish forces, just as they countered Haftar’s attempt to invade Tripoli in 2019, although Dabaiba said that the forces belong to his government.

Bashaga emerged from the Battle of Tripoli with a double loss, as his opponent seemed to be the stronger party not only militarily, but also politically.

Heavy fighting broke out last Saturday with heavy and light weapons between two armed groups in a number of neighborhoods of Tripoli, located in western Libya, against the backdrop of political chaos caused by the rivalry of the two governments.

Haftar had issued strongly worded warnings of the consequences of the continued escalation in the vicinity of Tripoli.

Addressing the parties to the conflict, he said Monday, ” the oblivious should pay attention, we did not build the National Army to stand by and watch Libya being dragged to the abyss by the manipulators”.

“The decisive solution remains in the hands of the people, who must lead the scene themselves to regain their rights and build their state,”he added without specifying a specific party.

Observers of Libyan affairs attributed the military confrontation to resolve the dispute between Bashaga and Dabaiba to the international neglect of the Libyan file and the absence of any serious movement to search for a practical solution to end the Libyan crisis that has lasted more than eleven years.

The supporters of Bashaga and Dabaiba have become preoccupied with other issues that are more important-for them – than the Libyan issue – or the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the oil and gas sector amidst the search for new alliances to emerge from this war. This situation has left Libyan opponents with only two options; either reconciliation through mediation and internal pressure, not possible given the adherence of each party to its legitimacy and entitlement to power, or resorting to the option of war, which is the option that the parties pursued through mobilization in the vicinity of Tripoli before the clashes began.

If the mobilization of external parties with interests in Libya failed the first Tripoli war and pushed the forces of army commander Khalifa Haftar to withdraw towards Sirte under the pressure of Turkish forces. Nothing currently prevents the Battle of Tripoli 2, especially in light of the fluctuating positions of the various parties involved in the file in favor of Bashaga or his opponent Dabaiba.

Al Arab

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