Turkey is playing with fire in Eastern Mediterranean
It is not so difficult for the political-military observers to realize that Ankara is making great mistakes in the Eastern Mediterranean via providing unsparing military supports for the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya for economic interests, trying to confront Greece and Cyprus for hydrocarbon deposits, driving a wedge amongst the European nations to revenge on the EU, and resorting to military meddling in northern Syria to gain upper hand against Russia in the region.
published By Tehran Times
May 5, 2020
A report by Ali Demirdas, a senior political analyst, has revealed that how Turkey has orchestrated its foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Whereas the entire world seems to have turned in on itself trying desperately to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, interestingly Turkey’s foreign policy is displaying signs of an outward dynamism,” Demirdas wrote in his report published by Anti-War.
In Libya, for example, in early April, the Turkish-backed, and the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) struck a serious blow against the rebel warlord Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). The GNA captured strategic cities of Surman, Sabratha and al-Ajaylat in West Libya.
The GNA victory came at a time when Haftar had become the most likely winner of the now 6-year old Libyan civil war since his forces captured the strategic coastal town of Sirte in January, a vital outlet to the Mediterranean Sea for Libya’s oil export.
Turkey’s deep involvement in the Libyan civil war is closely related to Ankara’s perception that Greece and the Greek Cypriots are trying to divide up the Eastern Mediterranean, rendering Turkish maritime navigation difficult without Greek consent.
Furthermore, the lucrative hydrocarbon deposits around the island of Cyprus, Ankara posits, would be exploited ignoring the island’s Turkish population.
France, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also thrown their political and material support behind Haftar. By propping up a pro-Turkish government in Libya, Ankara hopes to save the maritime deal it signed with GNA prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj , and spoil any plan in which it is not included.
Turkey’s recent critical gains in Libya are the direct result of the anti-Turkey coalition being rendered debilitated by a variety of factors closely associated with COVID-19. Simply put, Turkey, which has fared the pandemic relatively unharmed, used this opportunity to advance its interests in Libya.
The UAE, Haftar’s main financial backer, has been hit hard by the all-time low oil prices due to plummeting demand because of COVID-19, which has made its involvement in Libya even more costly. Abu Dhabi announced on April 20 that it had borrowed $7 billion to counter slumping oil prices.
Moreover, for Russia, as if having to fund its costly involvements in Syria and Ukraine as well as the constricting U.S. sanctions were not enough, the plummeting oil prices and the ruble’s simultaneous nosedive has had Moscow reevaluate the purpose of its Libya commitment.
The withdrawal from Libya of the majority of forces from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner corresponded with the beginning of the declining oil prices in late February.