Italian Newspaper Reveals Turkey’s Ambitions Over Libya’s Oil

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A report by the Italian online newspaper Stampa Toscana said that while the world was trying to recover from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to interfere in the eastern Mediterranean.

The newspaper reported that President Erdogan’s support for the Government of National Accord (GNA) allowed forces loyal to Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj to repel the Libyan National Army (LNA), which led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, from western Libya.

In its report, the newspaper added that in June 2020 the GNA managed to launch a counter-attack thanks to the weapons, officers, and foreign fighters sent by Turkey. Prime Minister Al-Sarraj thanked Ankara, expressing “the deep gratitude for the concrete steps taken to eliminate Haftar’s forces from Tripoli”.

According to the author, Haftar has received support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia, as well as France. Russian President Vladamir Putin has allegedly supported the LNA by sending 1,000 Wagner soldiers, the newspaper claimed.

The LNA’s retreat was a blow to France’s ambitions in Libya given that Paris had wagered on its success to gain access to oil and natural gas through its oil giant, Total. There are fears that Turkish oil companies will now enjoy a monopoly in Libya due to the unparalleled support it has provided the GNA, the newspaper claimed.

Turkey’s recent ambitions in the region have also raised concerns in Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. The report said that Turkey has unilaterally decided to extend its maritime borders and gain access to a much larger exclusive economic zone in the region with the help of Libya’s GNA.

“Turkey could have a tool to control the flow of migrants from Syria and Libya”, the author said, adding that it was necessary now more than ever to restore peace in Libya.