Issues such as the Turkish-linked military presence on Libyan territory to be discussed

Tripoli hosts Turkish-Libyan talks

AFP/ADEM ALTAN - Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Just a couple of days before Turkish-Egyptian meetings are due to take place in Cairo to explore a possible diplomatic rapprochement between Turkey and Egypt, Ottoman Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will meet in Libya's capital Tripoli on Monday, with the head of government Abdul Hamid Dbeiba and Foreign Minister Najla al-Manqoush, to discuss various issues such as the implementation of the memorandums of understanding signed between the Eurasian and North African countries for the coming years, as reported by local media and picked up by Al-Arabiya.

Libya's prime minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeiba visited Ankara last month to meet with Ottoman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This marked an important meeting between the Turkish leader and the new leader of the Libyan government, recognised by the parties currently in conflict in the framework of the Libyan civil war that has been going on since 2014 and has so far been pitting the former Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj against the Libyan National Army of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, associated with the other Eastern Executive in Tobruk. After the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime in 2011, a power struggle ensued between warring factions and the conflict festered with the confrontation between the Government of National Accord and Haftar's Libyan National Army, which has been marked by the interference of various powers aligned with the different warring parties and with interests in Libya's resources, especially oil, and in the geostrategic position of the North African nation. 

Turkey came into the fray by supporting Fayez al-Sarraj's forces following the pact signed by al-Sarraj himself and Erdogan at the end of 2019, which ensured Turkish military support for this side and divided up areas of exploitation in the eastern Mediterranean, something that came into conflict with neighbouring European countries such as Greece and Cyprus, which, together with the European Union, denounced Turkish expansionism and the alleged violation of their own maritime borders. 

El presidente de Turquía, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (derecha), y el primer ministro interino de Libia, Abdul Hamid Dbeiba, posan para una foto durante una ceremonia de firma tras su reunión en el Palacio Presidencial en Ankara

According to Al-Arabiya, Libyan diplomatic sources, quoted by local media, said that during the visit of the Turkish foreign minister, a series of bilateral issues will be discussed between the Libyan and Turkish sides, especially regarding the military presence in the cities of the western region, in addition to the issue of mercenaries and foreign fighters present in Libya. As various media have been reporting, Turkey has been sending mercenaries from Syria to Libya during this time, allegedly linked in the past to jihadist groups. Indeed, the Eurasian country is also involved in the civil war in Syria, since it entered through the Turkish-Syrian border under the pretext of harassing members of the Kurdish community, whom it accuses of terrorist acts perpetrated in southern Turkey. 

As reported by Al-Arabiya, Libyan sources indicated that the new Government of National Unity in Dbeiba supports the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters who have been transferred to the country from November 2019 to the present, explaining that it pays great attention to unifying the Libyan military establishment; although the presence of paid soldiers hinders this process. 

El presidente turco, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (derecha), y el primer ministro interino de Libia, Abdul Hamid Dbeiba, en el Palacio Presidencial en Ankara

Information from Libya also indicated that the Turkish foreign minister's visit to Tripoli comes two days before Turkish-Egyptian meetings are due to take place to discuss points that concern both countries, indicating that there is joint coordination between Cairo and Tripoli to expel mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya. 

During Dbeiba's visit to Ankara last month, the Libyan prime minister and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced their compromise over the controversial maritime border demarcation treaty signed in 2019 that divided up exclusive areas in the eastern Mediterranean for resource exploitation. They said in a joint statement: "We call for a regional conference that preserves the rights of all eastern Mediterranean countries. Erdogan also revealed at a joint press conference with Dbeiba that all agreements with Libya have been activated and five new agreements have been signed between the two nations.