By Spy Correspondents
Middle-East: Following the prolonged conflict in Libya by allegedly sponsored by Turkey and other allies who intervened on the side of the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar, Turkish state lenders to regulate Libya’s banking system.
Company chiefs and Erdogan allies are expected to arrive in Libya in the next two weeks to seek deals in oil exploration, construction, banking and manufacturing with motive to funnel payments through Turkey for key Libyan imports, one official said.
Local media reported that with help from mercenaries supplied by Turkey, the GNA repelled an assault on Tripoli and pushed Haftar’s troops back. “Fighting continues near the city of Sirte, but Erdogan has made it increasingly clear that he expects economic benefits from supporting the GNA, and a political delegation has already visited Tripoli in June”.
Sources in Ankara said a “committee” of business representatives would go to Libya and establish a business plan, saying that their focus is on meeting Libya’s energy needs and restoring its infrastructure.
Companies in Turkey have long been active in Libya, setting up power grids and building homes. The backlog of building contracts alone amounts to $16 billion. But projects were interrupted by the civil war, and contractors have been unable to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With 10 hours of power cuts a day in Libya, Turkish power company Karadeniz Holding is in talks with Tripoli to sell 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Turkish exports to Libya are $2 billion a year, and imports are $350 million however this was reverse in Gaddafi’s regime.
Ryan Bohl, a regional analyst with the Stratfor geopolitical consultancy, revealed that investment and economic aid to Libya would be of little direct benefit to Turkey, but could boost Erdogan’s soft power.
“They will be drains on Turkey’s dwindling reserves at home, and as a result, Turkey is likely to limit the amount they invest as they focus on economic problems at home,” he said.
“Investments like these … require stability to take root and be effective. Right now, such investments are a risk, in that they may get caught up in the fighting, or supplies may be disrupted as front lines in the conflict change.
“It is a long game, hoping to build up soft power that lets Turkey maintain stature in Libya for many years to come, but it’s a potential risk that these investments simply get eaten up in fighting or instability before they really have a chance to become productive.”