Turkey gains clout in Libya negotiations following Berlin conference

The Berlin conference on Libya ended Jan. 19 with domestic and foreign actors agreeing on fragile proposals to enforce an arms embargo and to work toward de-escalating a conflict that has gripped the nation since the fall of Col. Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Though many of the conclusions set forth mechanisms for progress, including the establishment of a cease-fire committee that is to meet regularly, few expect short-term changes on the ground in Libya as a sustainable resolution remains elusive. Still, in the days following the summit, observers have said Turkey’s increased involvement in the conflict acted as a catalyst for the European and international community to revisit developments in Libya.

Ankara, through agreements with the Tripoli government demarcating shared maritime boundaries in November and then with parliamentary approval of Turkish troop deployment to Libya earlier this month, has expanded its diplomatic clout in the nine-year conflict and has positioned itself as a key broker in developments moving forward.

In recent months, Turkish officials have increasingly supported the UN-recognized Government of National Accord headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli against an offensive launched in April 2019 by eastern Libya commander Khalifa Hifter.

Sinem Adar, a research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said Ankara has multiple interests in its logistical and material backing of the Government of National Accord, including territorial and energy claims in the eastern Mediterranean, political alignments and economic incentives in the form of prewar Turkish debt.

Adar told Al-Monitor that the summit has helped Ankara buy further time to keep the Government of National Accord intact, adding, “One can perhaps argue that the summit for Ankara is a short-term gain, in this respect.”

Read the full story on Al Monitor.