Turkey to build two military bases in Libya

Fighting intensifies in the oil city of Sirte
Stock photography. A ship unloads cargo at a port in Misrata on 26 January 2015

REUTERS/HANI AMARA  -   Stock photography. A ship unloads cargo at a port in Misrata on 26 January 2015

The nation headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan will build two bases in Libya, one at Misrata port and another at Al-Watiya air base, according to local media Yeni Safak. The first will be a naval base in the form of a port with permanent assault capabilities, reconnaissance and auxiliary aircraft storage, while the second will be an air base equipped primarily with unmanned aerial vehicles. 

This information comes one week after Erdogan, together with the Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, announced the military victory over the country's capital, Tripoli, after 14 months of offensive by the rival faction, the National Liberation Army (LNA), commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar. 

In these seven days, new details of the agreements ratified between the two leaders have been discovered, which contemplate, for example, facilities for Turkish companies that want to operate in Libya and access to the nation's energy resources. At this point, it is worth remembering that Erdogan recognized his intention to conquer the oil city of Sirte. To this end, a military source consulted by Al-Arabiya, has assured that Sarraj's troops "are placing minefields in Sadada, west of Sirte".

In this scenario, the LNA, which refuses to surrender, is intensifying its operations to stop the advance of the GNA. This Friday, the publication revealed that there had been shootings in the vicinity of the town that caused the death of several pro-Ankara mercenaries and the withdrawal of others and that, for the moment, "the situation is calm". The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) had revealed that more than 13,000 militiamen had passed through the North African country under the command of Ankara and its allies, including Doha and the Muslim Brotherhood, 390 of whom had already died on the battlefield. This Saturday alone, 126 new mercenaries have arrived in Libya, according to Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath, by plane. On Thursday, the NAG announced that Turkey had opened an air bridge with Libya, which has already been used by at least 4 Turkish military aircraft of type C130, which landed in Misrata, and by 13 other Turkish aircraft whose cargo is unknown.

In addition, the LNA is seeking support from the international community, which is wary of the Turkish President's ambitions. Starting this Saturday, 1,500 soldiers from Chad are expected to arrive in Libya to join the ranks of Marshal Haftar, the EFE agency revealed on Friday. Egypt has also shown military muscle this week against the Eurasian nation, with the deployment of its army on the Libyan border. This is, without a doubt, another step in the internationalization of the conflict.

The LNA also has the political support of Cairo. Its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, presented a roadmap for peace in the country which was immediately supported by other countries such as France, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In fact, the leaders of these first two countries, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and President Emmanuel Macron, during a telephone call, stressed "the importance of supporting the Egyptian initiative to resolve the Libyan crisis and put an end to the military conflict". During the conversation, "we discussed the strategic partnership and our way of developing it," the Emirati leader explained on his Twitter account. The United States has also shown its approval, although the latter prefers that the solution to the war be led by the UN. 

The plan, which included a cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of foreign militia fighting in the civil war, was rejected by Turkey.