Turkey and Libya… The post-election era

Without an official, agreed-upon announcement and with an tacit agreement between the various parties, the Libyan presidential elections that were supposed to be held on December 24 were postponed or annulled.

The head of the High Electoral Commission dissolved the electoral committees of the commission’s offices, and the latter proposed postponing the polling date to January 24, in coordination with the House of Representatives.

Despite international calls for holding presidential and legislative elections as soon as possible, the features of the next phase have not been clear until the moment of writing, which means that the country has entered a new phase with its own characteristics, and it may not be just an extension of the current phase that is closely followed by various parties, nor Especially Turkey.

These drones had a prominent role in breaking the siege on Tripoli and defeating the forces of Major General Khalifa Haftar, then removing the latter from the western regions of the country and pursuing them towards the east, all the way to Sirte, where the Al-Wefaq forces stopped due to the direct Russian intervention at the time.

Turkish role

The main features of the Turkish role in Libya were drawn by two important agreements, namely the maritime border delimitation agreement to define the exclusive economic zones between Turkey and Libya and the memorandum of security and military cooperation, which Ankara signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord in November 2019.

Later, at the official request of the Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj, and based on the aforementioned memorandum of understanding, Turkey sent a symbolic military force to Libya whose mission was to train and coordinate between the groups affiliated with the Government of National Accord, as well as the decisive role played by Turkish drones in the battle directly.

These drones had a prominent role in breaking the siege on Tripoli and defeating the forces of Major General Khalifa Haftar, then removing the latter from the western regions of the country and pursuing them towards the east, all the way to Sirte, where the Al-Wefaq forces stopped due to the direct Russian intervention at the time.

The most important result of the Turkish intervention in Libya was the conviction of most of the local, regional and international parties that it is impossible to resolve matters militarily and the need to return to a political solution, which gave a great boost to international and international efforts.

The pace of the political path accelerated from a number of international conferences from Moscow to Berlin to Paris, and crystallized in the national dialogue and then the election of a new presidential council and a government of national unity, in a transitional phase that was supposed to end with general elections in the country at the end of 2021.

During this period, relations were more and more solidified between Libya and Turkey, the only country that supported the Government of National Accord and continued its support for the Government of National Unity.

The visits between the two sides were frequent at the diplomatic, security and military levels, and the two countries formed the Supreme Council for Strategic Cooperation and signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding within its framework.

In the hands of all this, Ankara has repeatedly reiterated its support for the political track and the holding of the elections on time, and expressed its willingness to provide possible support and assistance in this context. Indeed, it participated in the Paris conference, which was held specifically to support the election process, even though it was organized by France, and it is its recent archenemy. Which has repeatedly, along with other parties, called for the exit of Turkish forces from Libyan territory, although its view was that the Libyan issue did not need an additional conference at that time, according to what President Erdogan said.

Features of a new stage

There was an undeclared understanding of postponing the elections or canceling them, as they lacked a constitutional basis, as well as the conflict of powers between the institutions and the many problems related to the presidential candidates.

This understanding bypassed the Libyans and reached the regional and international parties involved in the crisis and interested in it. The US special envoy to Libya, Richard Nolan, said that “there are no technical obstacles to holding the elections, but political and legal obstacles,” in a manner similar to justifying the postponement or giving him a green light.

And despite the fact that Stephanie Williams, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Libya, stressed the need to “hold presidential and parliamentary elections in appropriate circumstances,” and despite the quinquennial statement signed by the United States, France, Germany, Britain and Italy that “a new date” must be quickly set for the presidential and legislative elections. The next step is still unclear.

And because the texts and agreements related to the transitional period are neither clear nor decisive with regard to the current situation, and because the political and constitutional obstacles are not easy to solve and bypass, it is not clear whether the country is moving towards postponing and organizing the presidential elections soon, or submitting legislative elections to them, or submitting the drafting of a constitution For the country on both of them, or a return to a new national dialogue, or other scenarios.

For Turkey, as a country involved in the Libyan crisis and under great pressure to withdraw its forces (present in symbolic numbers) from Libyan lands, it stands on the threshold of the new stage in the Libyan crisis with almost clear determinants.

In the first place, Turkey seems very interested and keen on stability in Libya, not only in support of a friendly and neighbor (naval) country, but also because of its geostrategic importance to it. Geopolitics in the region, and therefore it does not have the luxury to lose Libya or to lose in it, and at the heart of that it does not want any interference with the two agreements signed with the Government of National Accord, especially since the unity government that runs the transitional phase does not have the power to cancel or amend any previous agreements. on her.

Moreover, Ankara is keen on the stability and continuity of the political track, and not regressing towards tension, field solutions, and military tracks that may open the door to catastrophic scenarios, and the opportunities are slim in any case. Moreover, its continuous security and military cooperation with the national unity government sends implicit messages that it is ready for options from this. Type that imposed by some parties.

Ankara is also very keen to cooperate with the Libyan government, and to develop this cooperation within the framework of the Supreme Council for Strategic Cooperation, and does not see prolonging the transitional period by postponing or canceling the elections in conflict with this matter, because the national unity government will remain to conduct business until the handover of the government New after any future elections.

Ankara also rejects any demands that it leave Libya before general elections are held throughout the Libyan territories, and that they be free and fair elections recognized by all Libyans, and a new phase begins with it, so Turkey will deal with the new Libyan government.

In short, during this extended transitional period, Turkey does not desire any radical change in its presence and role in Libya, but rather it would like to develop relations with the latter in various fields.

In all of this, they hope that any future president or government will appreciate its role and contribution to the stability of the situation in Libya, its support for its legitimate government and the interests arising from the agreements signed with it, as well as the future prospects for these relations, which will encourage them to adopt additional positive steps towards Ankara and deepen and consolidate relations with it more and more. .


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