How Does The Geneva Ceasefire Agreement Affects Turkey’s Presence in Libya?

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During the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) talks in Geneva on Friday, the Libyan warring parties agreed to sign a permanent ceasefire to end the conflict in Libya.

They also agreed to freeze the implementation of military agreements and the departure of training crews until a unified government takes over.

The two sides agreed to form a force of regular soldiers from the 5+5 Joint Military Commission to solve any violations. The ceasefire does not apply to United Nations designated terrorist groups.

The Libyans agreed to evacuate all military areas and to expel foreign fighters from Libyan territory. Security arrangements will be implemented over evacuated areas.

Roads, land, and air crossings will open all over Libya and a joint security room will be formed to ensure the safe passage for citizens.

The agreement establishes a Security and Operations Room that shall propose and implement special security arrangements to secure the areas cleared of military units and armed groups.

The Agreement also foresees the establishment of a limited military force of regular military personnel under the Security and Operations Room to deter violations of the ceasefire.

Libya’s GNA military agreement with Turkey

In 2019, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey signed two agreements on military cooperation and maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea that could complicate Ankara’s disputes over energy exploration with other countries.

The military agreement aims at ensuring protection of Turkey’s interests in Libya, strengthening ties between the two countries and allowing Ankara’s direct intervention in the North African country.

It also provided for Turkish troops to be sent to Libya at the request of the GNA.
Sources also confirmed that the agreement provides immunity for Turkish forces in Libya against any prosecution and gives Turkish officers in Libya a diplomatic status to ensure their immunity.

Turkey Continues to Train Libyan fighters

Despite the Geneva ceasefire agreement, Turkey announced that it would continue to train Libyan fighters to help its ally in Libya.

Under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara has been accused of pursuing an aggressive foreign policy in several neighboring countries, notably Libya and Syria.

The training is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on military collaboration signed by Ankara and the GNA last year, which was paired with another MoU that controversially awarded Turkey vast swathes of the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea for gas exploration.

Turkey has since actively intervened in the war in Libya, helping the GNA survive the siege of Tripoli and take territory, including by allegedly sending Syrian militants to fight alongside the GNA.

The training of Libyan cadets shows the extent of military cooperation between Ankara and Tripoli and at a time when internal rifts have weakened the position of GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

“Ankara has seen military-to-military relations as an important means to gain political access and expand diplomatic influence,” Erdemir, now senior director at the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said.