Turkish provocations, continuing, threaten stability in Libya

Robert Jones
3 min readNov 30, 2020

Turkish Ministry of Defense spokesman Pinar Kara said publicly on Sunday that 2,301 Libyan soldiers have been trained by the Turkish army and 264 people have undergone military training in five training centres. At a press conference, Kara clarified that Turkey had not violated international law in Libya and that its interference, at the invitation of an internationally recognised government, was aimed at achieving national reconciliation.

Many observers believe that there is a breach of international laws and ceasefire agreements between Libyan parties in such military operations. At recent meetings in Geneva, Ghadames and Sirte, the Joint Military Committee, made up of five high-ranking officials of the National Accord Government (GNA) and five high-ranking officials of the Libyan National Army (LNA), agreed to avoid any training of foreign officials, in addition to withdrawing all forces and mercenaries within 90 days from Libyan territory.

In Geneva, following an immigration conference, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had met with the resigning Libyan Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, to discuss potential joint initiatives, adding that Ankara was ready to help.Therefore, the pace of military and security cooperation with the government of Tripoli will be increased, totally ignoring the agreements reached by the Joint Military Committee (JMC 5 + 5). This threatens to reinvigorate the peace process in Libya and turns out to be yet another Turkish provocation against Europe especially Germany, which, through the Berlin process, has spent much of its time achieving stability in Libya.

Last week, at the graduation ceremony of the first batch of trainees, the Omar Mukhtar Training Center in Tajoura near Tripoli participated in the implementation of the training cooperation agreement signed between the Libyan GNA and the Turkish Government in November 2019.The Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff, the Commander of the Military Region of Tripoli, the Commander of the Western Military Region and some officials of the Ministry of Defense of the GNA, members of the Turkish side and the graduates’ parents attended the ceremony.

Turkey has sent arms, supplies and thousands of mercenaries to Libya over the past 12 months to fight against the LNA of Khalifa Haftar alongside the GNA-aligned forces in Tripoli. This support has resulted in a series of victories for the forces of Tripoli and Misrata. Likewise, Moscow sent its officers and like many pro-Assad Syrian mercenaries, to the borders of Sirte and Al-Jufra in central Libya, triggering a stalemate.Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah Al-so-called Sisi’s red line, threatening to send his army if it was crossed by the armies of Tripoli and Misrata, backed by Ankara’s Syrian mercenaries.

This stalemate has turned into the ongoing peace talks led by the UN: the Forum of the Libyan Political Dialogue. The latest events, however, indicate that the Turkish Ministry of Defense continues to train GNA forces in Libya, Istanbul and Sparta, despite the fact that all military deals are frozen before Libya’s new government is elected.In the North African region, the Turkish company SADAT International Security Consultancy is believed to have taken over the supervision and transport of Syrian mercenaries. Since the end of the Tripoli war, even these young Syrians have been pursuing intensive training exercises for reasons that are not yet clear.