Why Erdogan needs Russian presence in Libya?

Author : Cumhuriyet Turkish newspaper

Source : Cumhuriyet

Turkey and Egypt are becoming participants in an increasingly tense confrontation in Libya. At the same time, any movement towards easing this tension does not come from either Ankara or Cairo...
15:00, 17 July 2020


Ankara supports the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez as-Sarraj, that controls the west of Libya, and Cairo supports the House of Representatives, which, in turn, controls the east of the country, and backs Libyan National Army / Khalifa Haftar.

The Sirte-El-Jufra axis became, on the one hand, the border of this division to the east and west, on the other, a red line potentially capable of causing a military clash between Turkey and Egypt... And Germany, which organized the Berlin Conference, insists on so that the Sirte-El Jufra axis becomes a "demilitarized zone". It is clear that this will mean the acceptance of the de facto partition of Libya...

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The danger of the outbreak of hostilities on the Sirte-El-Jufra axis

Ankara and Tripoli want Haftar's forces to leave the Sirte-El-Jufra axis and these territories controlled by the forces of al-Sarraj. Cairo and Tobruk declared the Sirte-El-Jufra axis a "red line"...

However, in a truly serious and further aggravating event, the Tobruk House of Representatives called on the Egyptian Armed Forces to intervene in Libya!

The situation, unfortunately, has come to the point that weapons can rattle on the Sirte-El-Jufra axis...

And this will mean that the war with the participation of many parties, which is going on in Syria, Libya, the region through intermediaries, has reached the level of states, which in turn can, according to the domino principle, create new fronts...

Related: Erdogan threatens Russia with continuing operation in Idlib

US considers Erdogan's letter a "key"

Ankara is trying to win Washington over to its side since it is opposed by a large group of countries in Libya. And therefore, he claims that Moscow's presence in Libya poses a threat to US/NATO interests.

And the fact that representatives of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey have for some time stated that relations with Russia are developing not in a strategic, but in a tactical plane, and the thesis officially voiced by one of them at a NATO meeting that “the strengthening of Russia in Libya represents a threat to the alliance,” also in order to win the USA over to its side...

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin

This process, which began with the fact that Erdogan wrote a letter to Trump on April 29 and announced his desire to cooperate with the United States in Libya (and even in Syria), is moving forward. Because Washington views this call from Erdogan as a key to be used to undermine relations between Turkey and Russia.

Moreover, the United States regards joint work with Turkey in Libya as a step towards the possible resumption of joint work in Syria.

Related: Ceasefire takes effect in Idlib, - Erdogan

Strategic triangle and quadrangle

At the heart of these initiatives is the Eastern Mediterranean, and they are likely to have serious consequences for Turkey along a vast axis stretching from Syria to Libya.

Because, as we have already noted in our book entitled "The End of American Hegemony" (Amerikan Hegemonyasının Sonu), the strategic triangle that forms the Iskenderun Gulf, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, and the strategic quadrangle Black Sea - Caspian Sea - Gulf of Aden - Arabian Sea represent the geography of centuries of collisions in Western Asia.

The force that threatens this geography is US imperialism. Turkey's "joint work" with the United States to contain Russia in Libya will start a process with serious consequences.

But, as we wrote earlier in this column, everything can be completely different: just as in Syria Turkey was able to normalize relations with Russia and build a trilateral alliance that also encompasses Iran, in Libya, Turkey can also cooperate with Russia and build a new trilateral a union that also includes Egypt. And Turkey needs to speed up the creation of such an alliance.

The United States will benefit from the conflict between Turkey and Egypt!

Without a doubt, in the event of a military confrontation between Turkey and Egypt in Libya, Egypt's chances of winning are zero, but Turkey will not be the winner in the end. The USA and Israel will win! Moreover, a military clash between Turkey and Egypt in Libya will mean that it will be impossible to split Egypt from the Greece-South Cyprus-Israel-USA-EU bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Ankara must see the following: it is impossible to protect the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean as much as possible with the help of military force alone. Turkey will achieve results in the Eastern Mediterranean to the extent that it can cooperate with Syria and Egypt. And the golden key on the way to cooperation with Damascus and Cairo is Moscow.

Therefore, positioning itself against Russia in Libya in order to get the support of the United States and NATO, Ankara is making a strategic mistake, and it must be quickly corrected. The days when Ankara opposed the Russian policy of entering the Eastern Mediterranean are in the past, Russia is already in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is conducting exercises with Syria. In the future, one should take advantage of Russia's presence in the Eastern Mediterranean against the United States and, together with Russia in this region, block the United States' path to the Black Sea.

Related: Hagia Sofia transformation: Erdogan's strengthening and disapproval of the West

Mehmet Ali Güller

Read the original text at Cumhuriyet

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