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Thursday, March 23, 2023
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When Turkey “hides” behind Libya

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Turkey and Libya “pull the rope” with Tripoli’s foreign minister seeing that the hydrocarbon explorations started by Greece are in “disputed territory”

By Antonis Anzoletou

With the title “Hello, goodbye” Politico had described in the middle of November, in the most graphic way, the diplomatic episode of Nikos Dendias at the Tripoli airport, where the foreign minister refused to meet, outside of the schedule, with his counterpart, Naila Mangous, of the Dbeiba interim government. They were the first “thick clouds” that appeared between Greece and Libya, showing that the recent contacts of Tayyip Erdogan and Mevlut Cavusoglu with the African country had a specific aim. Was Libya’s move against Greece a “finger” of Turkey for the start of hydrocarbon research? It’s not hard to guess. Ankara has signed two memoranda – the last one recently – with Tripoli and Tayyip Erdoğan now wants two things: to have something in his hands soon and to make it difficult for Exxonmobil to work on behalf of Greece in the south of Crete.

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Dbeiba, who has made it clear he will not step down until elections are held, benefits from Turkish support and has consolidated his control in Tripoli. The game played in the area is wide. Egypt is on Haftar’s side and stands by Greece, which denounces the Turkish-Libyan memorandum. He wants to defeat Islamist groups that include a section of the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia is with her. Turkey, which had strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, supports the Tripoli administration.

Turkey and Libya “they are pulling the strings” with the Tripoli foreign minister seeing that the hydrocarbon research that Greece has started is in a “disputed area”. The truth is that the Dbeiba government has nothing to lose and is laying the groundwork for the next day. The case of Turkey taking out a research ship in the area of ​​the illegal Turkish-Libyan cannot be ruled out. Possibly Tayyip Erdoğan is waiting for the polling season as he is under pressure in the polls. Both in his country and in Greece. It is a “paper” that possibly holds it for the right moment. It would, after all, be a very powerful pre-election maneuver to promise his people that very soon the investigations that are being started will bear fruit and that a new source of income for the country is coming. The illegal agreement with Tripoli is the tool that the Turkish president has in his hands to remind his claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is impossible that Erdogan has not calculated the multiple and conflicting interests of major Western countries, but also of Russia in Libya. Beyond the Ukrainian war, his presence in Tripoli is another reason why he remains a force to be reckoned with that no one wants to rule out. The unstable regime that prevails in the country is convenient for him to pass his illegal claims. What he is not comfortable with, for obvious reasons, is the holding of the elections that have not been held since last December. In this context, it was not by chance that the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “the obligation of the transitional government of Libya is to immediately lead the country to elections”.

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