Developing Story: Sources and related to Turkey's new role in the Mediterranean, sending of Syrians
Updated: Jan 19
In late November Turkey signed a deal with the Government of the National Accord in Libya. The GNA controls parts of Libya near Tripoli, while most of the country is controlled by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army.
Since the deal with signed Turkey has indicated it will send forces to Libya to back the GNA. This is part of a security and economic cooperation deal. The parliament in Ankara has agreed to the deal but the details of troop deployments were unclear a month after the deal was signed.
What follows is the documents and details about the developing story that will have major implications on the Mediterranean. Specifically it is part of a growing role for Turkey in the region and North Africa, including a base in Qatar and Somalia.
The affect of the Turkish deal may increase cooperation between Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.
"The Memorandum of Understanding for maritime cooperation between Turkey and Libya of the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj was definitively voted by the Turkish Parliament on December 5 last," notes Modern Diplomacy.
Middle East Eye notes "Greece says EastMed pipeline deal to be signed 2 January despite tensions with Turkey." However on December 21 Anadolu argued that "Israel relations following Libya deal. Israeli government seems to have realized it has no choice but to head back to the negotiation table with Turkey." AP reported "The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel plan to sign an agreement early in the new year for the building of the eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline, the Greek prime minister’s office announced Sunday."
On December 23 Anadolu noted "Turkey to discuss Syria, Libya in MoscowTurkish Foreign Ministry delegation also to discuss Russian president's expected visit to Turkey on January 8." Turkish media has become increasingly hostile to Europe, sensing growing anger at Turkey's policies. On December 26 the GNA government requested Turkey's military support. The next day Al-Ain media reported that Turkey was recruiting Syrian rebels to fight in Libya. Al-Balad news looked at the component of the groups. The reports of the deployment were initially denied. Omer Ozkizlcik wrote that the SNA had denied it would send forces. He noted that if they did it would create a "strong bond" of "armed revolutionaries in the Middle East." Elizabeth Tsurkov wrote on December 24 that "I've asked around among Syrian Turkish-backed fighters regarding the rumor they'll be sent by Turkey to fight in Libya. All deny it."The first group reported on the ground was the Al-Mu'tasim Brigade ( فرقة المُعتصم,). Previously supported by the US as a vetted group with up to $5 million in funding, they served with the SNA in fighting the mostly Kurdish SDF as part of Turkey's October offensive. They are being derided as the "new janissaries." They are rumored to receive between $ 1,800 to $2,300 a month. SOHR reported similar details of "actions of the al-Hamzat Division, the Levant Front, the Al-Mu'tasim Brigade and the Al-Sham Brigade." New details are emerging daily of Turkey's plans to link the conflicts in Idlib to Libya.