Has Turkey Agreed to Resolve Tense Relations with France Through Libya?


For months, Franco-Turkish relations have been tense, with Paris threatening military strikes in the eastern Mediterranean, to curb Turkey’s provocative activities in the region.

Despite the cautious calm, German diplomacy has worked quickly to ease the situation between Paris and Ankara, as Turkey has threatened to open its borders and flood Europe with refugees. German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas visited Ankara on Monday, to reach a comprehensive solution.

Berlin has decided to move to prevent a worsening situation, especially with the Turkish threats coinciding with the ongoing tensions in Libya, and the exacerbation of the refugee crisis in Europe. The EU has resorted to threatening to impose sanctions against Ankara, due to its intervention in Libya, and activities in the eastern Mediterranean.

With the increase in the European stranglehold on Ankara, Turkey has agreed on the necessity of a diplomatic solution and loosened its hand from the militias in Libya to pave the way for a peaceful solution, and rearrange its cards with its European neighbours.

Observers believe that the change of direction is due to Ankara’s belief that it would be able to obtain lucrative investment and economic opportunities in Libya. Others see Turkish approval of the German initiative to repair relations with Paris, in accordance with the French move to peacefully resolve the Libyan crisis. This is in line with preparations for improving relations with France’s most powerful ally in the Middle East, Egypt. As Cairo has threatened to escalate the situation in Libya, by intervening militarily.

Turkey can withdraw its forces in Libya within 6 months, as one of the concessions to France and Egypt, with reports talking about the existence of such plans being implemented. All these perceptions confirmed that the visit by Maas was to begin mediation to solve the eastern Mediterranean crisis between Turkey and Greece, and to improve Turkish relations with the EU. Recently, talks between Greece and Turkey have been resumed under German auspices to restore confidence, and create a solution-oriented dialogue.