The Libyan stalemate: Turkish Authorities Should Pursue A More Multidimensional Policy Approach

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has scheduled a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for 8 January 2020, to discuss the burning issues in the Middle East and Africa as well as the deteriorating situation in Libya. Commenting on the matter, I want to emphasis the role of the experts’ meetings which would also be instrumental to effectively address the challenges.

The Foundation for National Values Protection (FNVP) is a large Russia-based organization that aims to push the vision of Russian interests all around the world. It also upholds the freedom of speech in the global media through collaborations with various international centers and companies. Among other things, the FNVP pays particular attention to Africa where the socio-political and economic spheres are considered to be especially complex.

The foundation representatives also promote the national values by organizing international patriotic events, round tables, and negotiating forums. TheFNVP also monitors the Internet to analyze the acts of countries’ intervention in the domestic policy of other sovereign states and supports the communities in preserving their traditions.

There are a lot of issues to resolve between two leaders, most related to Libya, which is currently a seat ground of terrorism, poverty, and inequality.

The fact is the presidents’ talks are very important for the future of Libya. For Turkey, the role it plays in the Islamic world is very important. Turkey also has very serious economic interests in Libya and in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, the conflict over the Memorandum of understanding on maritime borders has recently flared up. This problem is particularly acute right now for the states in the Mediterranean sea.

The agreement on maritime borders signed on November 27 this year between Turkey and the Government of the National Accord (GNA) in the capital of Libya сaused a great shock in the world. The memorandum also implies cooperation between the two governments in the military sphere in the Mediterranean sea. Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, and a number of other countries have strongly criticized the document as it suggests interference in their maritime borders.

Europe and the Arab world do not accept this agreement. In addition, there are many people in Libya, in particular, the only democratically elected body in the country, the House of Representatives, who also oppose it.

The mentioned situation occurred in October this year – the beginning of the Turkish operation “Source of peace”. Turkey began sending its troops to the north-east of Syria to fight the Kurdish YPG units. The situation was escalating day by day with both sides losing their men in fierce battles. As a result, Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding in Sochi. According to that document, Turkey joined the process of Syrian territories patrolling, as well as Syrian Arab Army soldiers could return to the border points with Turkey. In the end, the carnage was stopped.

Such negotiations prove once again that a personal meeting and joint negotiations lead to positive outcomes. We need more than meetings between the politicians to understand each other. These issues should be discussed internationally by experts. The setting up of such a platform is possible only inTurkey, and then it can be implemented in Russia. This experience will have only advantages, and I can also give a good example: this year a fruitful summit Russia-Africa was held and we managed to discuss a lot of issues.

In the matters regarding Libya, Turkey can only rely on the Government of the National Accord (GNA) and its head, Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj. However, this body leadership has long ago discredited itself. This applies even to the UN Skhiratagreement signed in 2015, under which terms the GNA was founded. This document defined the validity period of the Tripolitanian government – from January 2016 till January 2018. Yet, the leadership is still sitting in the capital of Libya, despite the loss of its legitimacy.

Besides, the GNA has not fulfilled any of the tasks assigned to it. This also applies to the dissolution of the armed groups and the integration of their members into civilian and military state institutions, along with with the prohibition of detaining people in violation of the law, and the fight against the slave trade. All of this occurred in the past and is still going on in Tripoli and the north-west of the country, where the GNA leads.

Turkey has chosen a very unfortunate position, supporting the Government of National Accord. They support the Tripolitan officials who brought discredit onto themselves many times, which only gives them points for a bad reputation. The Turkish authorities should pursue a more multidimensional policy approach. Only in this case will they be able to confidently defend their interests in the long run.

Russia can help to safeguard the interests of all parties and assist in resolving the conflict. We have had a positive experience of cooperation with Tukey, a vivid example of this is the incredibly difficult situation in Syria, which our countries managed to solve.