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Libya: A Great Regional War

What Turkey Really Wants from Libya

The past week has seen the conflict in Libya take on far greater significance for external actors. The lines have been drawn in the sand here, particularly where it concerns Turkey. In the span of a week, Turkish aid has helped the Government of National Accord (GNA) retake a strategic town south of Libya from the forces of General Haftar, prompting a retaliation of Haftar targeting Turkish nationals and assets in the country. First, they kidnapped six sailors, provoking Erdogan into a frenzy. Then they shot down a Turkish drone in Libya. The sailors, none of whom were military personnel according to our sources in Istanbul, have now been released and remain in Libya. But the real question here is why is Turkey messing around in Libya to the extent of supplying the GNA with firepower and other support?

Turkey considers Libya as a keystone of proxy wars for Mediterranean energy reserves, and rightfully so. Turkish officials who number among our assets in the region have a very different take on Libya than their Western counterparts do. From the Turkish perspective, foreign powers are using the Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya as an excuse to pursue their own national interests. The Turks are retaliating by using the Libyan GNA to serve Ankara’s agenda to boost the Muslim Brotherhood in the region (along with ally Qatar, which is also on the anti-Haftar side of this fight). Ankara has been in a bunker mentality in Libya recently,…




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