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Turkey ensures its long-term military presence in Libya with two bases

ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya are discussing the possibility of Ankara using two military bases in a North African country, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing a Turkish diplomatic source on condition of anonymity.

Read more: 24/7 BulgarianMilitary.com – All about Libyan civil war

Read more: Russia defends the Libyan city of Sirte and builds a military air base near it

According to him, the main goal of Turkey is to ensure its long-term military presence in North Africa.

The final decision regarding the possible Turkish use of the Misrata naval base and Al-Vatiya airbase [140 kilometers south of Tripoli] has not yet been made. Meanwhile, the source said, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the GNA, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, continue intensive consultations on this issue.

It is pointed out that the continued presence of Turkish aviation and navy in Libya could strengthen Ankara’s growing influence in the region and “strengthen its claim to marine oil and gas resources” in the Eastern Mediterranean. Military facilities in Libya may become the second foreign-based location of the Turkish army in the Greater Middle East after Ankara in 2017 received the opportunity to deploy troops in Qatar.

The Libyan naval base will allow Turkey to institutionalize its influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and give it leverage over Arab and European opponents, said Galip Dalai, academy fellow at Robert Bosch [Stuttgart].

“Russia wants Turkey and the GNA to stop military operations, in particular, towards the city of Sirte and the Jufra air base south of this Libyan port … But Ankara rejected this demand,” Dalai said.

“If the Turkish-Russian negotiations do not bear fruit, we can see an escalation in both Libya and the Syrian region of Idlib, where Ankara and Moscow also support opposing sides,” Reuters said.

It should be noted that in these days the Turkish media are discussing the topic of Moscow’s “active interest” in the Jufra airbase, which could become the “Libyan analogue” of the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syrian Latakia.

As BulgarianMilitary.com reported, Russia and Turkey postponed negotiations to end hostilities in Libya due to disagreements over GNA Sarraj’s attempts to regain the coastal city of Sirte, which is currently controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA) under the command of Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

On June 15, on condition of anonymity, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters. “There should have been a [concrete] result of the meeting, but at this stage it could not be achieved. There are problems when the two countries occupy opposing positions,” said the source of the British news agency.

According to him, one of the main problems of transferring the visit of the Russian delegation to Ankara is the operation of the GNA in Sirte. Meanwhile, a Reuters source added, Russian-Turkish consultations on Libya “are continuing at the expert level.”

Recall, on June 14, the Russian delegation was expected to arrive in Turkey. However, almost at the last moment, the visit of Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoigu to Ankara was postponed indefinitely.

GNA formations continue to attack Sirte. “Now the goal is to capture the whole territory of Sirte. These are sections with oil wells, it is very important,” Erdogan said earlier.

Marshal Haftar enjoys the support of Russia, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE. On the side of the GNA, Sarajah is Turkey and Qatar.

At the end of November 2019, Ankara and the Libyan government in Tripoli signed an agreement on military cooperation, under which Turkey provides strong support to the GNA, including arms deliveries.

Libyan civil war

In Libya, armed clashes are currently taking place between supporters of different leaders. The country is led by the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, the “eastern government” led by Abdullah Abdurrahaman at-Thani.

The eastern government is supported by the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

Recall that January 13 in Moscow, negotiations were held between the heads of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalif Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA) Faiz Sarraj. Also present were members of the Foreign Ministries of Russia and Turkey.

On the meeting the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has notified Russia about the conditions for continuing negotiations on the signing of a peace agreement in Libya.

According to the requirements of Haftar, the militias operating in Libya are required to surrender weapons in the period from 45 to 90 days. This process should be controlled by a special commission created by the LNA together with the UN

Haftar also refused to recognize Turkey as an intermediary in resolving the situation in Libya, since the Turkish side is not neutral and supports the Government of National Accord (GNA).

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