Biden Administration to Reject Turkish Expansion Plans in Libya

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On Sunday, a member of the United States’ Democratic Party, Mehdi Afifi, said that recent US sanctions on Turkey were expected, especially after the latter’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems. The party member also pointed out that any member country deviating from the NATO’s arming system would be subject to sanctions.

In press statements, Afifi added: “The US sanctions coincided with the European Union’s awaited sanctions against Turkey due to its illegal exploration works in the Eastern Mediterranean.” He added that more sanctions will be imposed against Ankara after Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in the coming few weeks.

Afifi pointed out that the new US administration is diametrically opposed to Turkish tampering in the region, and its attempts to expand influence in Syria and Libya.

Afifi stated that these sanctions may pave the way for new tougher sanctions on Ankara, which may significantly affect the Turkish lira’s exchange rate and the country’s economy in general.
The sanctions would target Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries and its head, Ismail Demir, sources have said. They would be damaging but narrower than severe scenarios some analysts have outlined.

Notably, a US report said thousands of Syrian mercenaries sent by Turkey to Libya to fight on the side of the Government of National Accord (GNA) were likely to degrade security and cause a backlash from the Libyan public.

The US Defence Department’s inspector general also said in a new report that he was concerned about the growing presence of Russian mercenaries fighting for the rivals of the Tripoli-based government in the Libyan war.

The report, which was released on Tuesday, said that Turkey had sent at least 5,000 Syrian mercenaries to Libya. These mercenaries are known to have worked closely with Ankara in Syria’s civil war. They were sent to North Africa to help the GNA fight the forces of the eastern-based Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Turkey also sent hundreds of regular troops to Libya, including operators and technicians for Turkish air defence systems in western Libya, the report said.