North Africa

Russia, Turkey emerge political frontrunners in Libya

Russia and Turkey have formed an alliance to exploit insolvency of the West in the Libyan crisis to pose as sponsors of a future political solution in the North African country, according to a report by French newspaper Le Monde.

Libya, a large oil producer, has been engulfed by chaos since 2011 when longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising.

According to Le Monde, a lack of interest by the United States and power struggles in the European Union due to its reported obsession with migration and armed groups has made it possible for Russia and Turkey to step into Libya.

The newspaper also attributed other countries’ failure to consistently support the post-Gaddafi transition and the growing activism in the Mediterranean for Turkey and Russia’s influence in Libya.

Turkey recently sent military personnel to Libya to support and train forces of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of chaos in Libya unless peace is quickly established.

Ankara and Moscow launched a joint call for a ceasefire in Libya from January 12.

Closer ties
The leaders of Turkey and Russia recently cemented ties between the two nations with the launch of TurkStream – an undersea pipeline stretching 930 kilometres (578 miles) from Anapa on the Russian Black Sea coast to Kiyikoy, west of Istanbul.

The pipeline will carry Russian gas for Turkish domestic consumption, while a second leg slated for construction will carry Russian gas to southeast Europe through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.

TurkStream enables Russia to bypass Ukraine to sell gas to Europe while bolstering Turkey as an important energy transport hub.

They also deepened military cooperation after Turkey took delivery of a Russian-made S-400 missile defence system last year.

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