Libya: Ankara Dispatches Head of Intelligence to Tripoli to Protect Turkish Interests

Hakan Fidan meets with Dbaiba and Khaled Al-Mishri in an effort to explore understandings on the roadmap and the holding of Elections announced by the presidents of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Council of the state.

The visit of the head of the Turkish intelligence service Hakan Fidan to Tripoli on Tuesday just days after the visit of the head of the US intelligence service, which raised concerns regarding its infleunce and presence in Libya,. Turkey also discussed the holding of elections as announced by the presidents of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Council of the state.

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Observers believe that Fidan’s visit to Tripoli is not isolated from recent developments, especially after a similar visit by the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, who singled out the outgoing head of the Libyan national unity government Abdul Hamid Al-Dbaiba and the commander of the Libyan Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in two separate meetings, during which he stressed the need for elections in Libya to bring stability, requesting that they control the security situation, protect oil resources and not stop exports.

The visit is also related to the recent political developments and the meetings hosted by Cairo during the past week, which began with the meeting of the heads of the Houses of Representatives and the Supreme Council of the state, Aguila Saleh and Khaled al-Mashri, the head of the Presidential Council Mohammed Al-Manfi and the commander of the Libyan army, Khalifa Haftar.

Turkey has military forces and mercenaries on Libyan territory and controls the Aqaba bin Nafi air base in Al Watiyah.

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Ankara fears that the new reconcilliation initiatives to break the political deadlock in Libya threatens its interests, especially after memorandums of understanding on the exploitation of energy and oil resources, and cooperation in the military field.

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In the midst of these political and intelligence moves, Turkey does not want to lose any of the objectives it achieved with the former reconciliation government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj or with the Dbaiba government, which it supports.

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It is unlikely that Ankara would block plans to break the political deadlock in Libya if its interests were not threatened, so its intelligence chief was sent to see what was agreed on in the constitutional document that paves the way for presidential and legislative elections.

A statement posted on the official Facebook page of the Libyan prime minister on Tuesday said that “Dbaiba discussed the latest regional developments with Fidan, and during the meeting they discussed joint regional and international files”. This was in the presence of Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoush, Minister of State Adel Juma, and Minister of Communications and political affairs Walid Lafi.

As part of his visit, Fidan met with the head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohammed Al-Manfi, in Tripoli, in the presence of the head of the Libyan intelligence service, Hussein al-Aib, and the ambassador of Turkey to Tripoli, Kanan Yilmaz.

Al-Mashri also received Fidan and his accompanying delegation at the council’s headquarters in the capital Tripoli.

According to a statement issued by Khaled al-Mashri via his Facebook page, he stressed “the depth of historical relations between Libya and Turkey, and the importance of strengthening and developing them in all fields,” calling for “the need for cooperation and coordination on bilateral and international issues and files of common interest”.

After that, an expanded meeting was held, which included Dbaiba, vice-chairman of the Presidential Council Abdullah Al-Lafi and the governor of the Central Bank of Libya Siddiq Al-Kabir, during which they discussed the latest developments in the political process in Libya, ways to overcome the obstacles facing it, and intensify efforts to move towards the completion of elections according to sound constitutional and legal bases.

The speaker of the Libyan parliament, Aguila Saleh, said that amending the constitutional declaration and setting a basis for elections is the solution to get the country out of its crisis.

During his opening of the parliamentary session on Tuesday, Saleh criticized the position and role of the Supreme Council of state, saying that “it has no right to issue any constitutional document or declaration because its role is only advisory,” stressing that the parliament is the only legislative body in the country, in a move that provoked disagreement between the parties about the future of the political process, as the state council refuses to approve the constitutional amendment unilaterally.

Relations between the parliament and the State Council have witnessed a rapprochement after agreeing to draw up a clear roadmap for parliamentary and presidential elections, but Saleh said it was a “verbal rapprochement without actions”.

Saleh pointed to the main point of disagreement with the Supreme Council of State on the election law, and said that it is the point of dual-nationality candidates for the post of head of state, calling for making room for dual-nationality candidates, pointing to the possibility of adding an article stating that if a dual-nationality is successful in the elections, it means that he renounces the other nationality.

Aguila Saleh called for leaving the choice to the people and accepting opponents in order to end the transitional stages.

Al Arab

Translation by Internationalist 360°

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