Turkey has begun training 120 Libyan fighters to support its ally in Libya while remaining to dismiss reports about its sending Syrian troops to fight Armenia.
Ankara, and during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been accused of holding an aggressive foreign policy in many neighboring countries by using its position in Syria to lead Syrian fighters to Libya and the Caucuses.
In fact, Ankara seems this week to announce its involvement in Libya, and at the same time, it is continuing to dismiss any military role against Armenia.
In this context, Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense published photos on Monday and Wednesday of Turkish armed forces when it is training 120 Libyan fighters of the Government of National Accord (GNA) that is in competition for power against the rival Libyan National Army (LNA).
It should be noted that the training is a part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on military collaboration signed by Ankara and the GNA last year, which was paired with another MoU that controversially awarded Turkey vast swathes of the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea for gas exploration.
It should be noted that the training is a part of understanding (MoU) on military collaboration signed by Ankara and the GNA last year that was combined with another MoU that controversially awarded Turkey huge places of the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea for gas prospection.
Since, Turkey has actively involved in the war in Libya, supporting the GNA to save from the siege of Tripoli and take territory, including by sending Syrian militants to fight with the GNA.
According to expert Umberto Profazio, the exercise of Libyan student’s cadets reveals the extent of military cooperation between Ankara and Tripoli, at a time that internal disagreements have weakened the position of GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
Profazio, an analyst at the NATO Foundation, informed Al Arabiya English: Widespread protests in Tripoli and the disputes about the agreement that allowed for oil production to resume highlighted an internal rift in the GNA…and raising doubts about Ankara’s real hold on western Libyan authorities. He added that the training of Libyan navy personnel by Turkish instructors also began this week.
Turkey denies sending troops to fight Armenia
Whereas Ankara announces its military involvement in Libya, it remains to dismiss its claimed alleged military involvement in the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Otherwise, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied On Wednesday charges that pro-Turkey Syrians were fighting with Azerbaijani troops in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is the ethnic Armenian province that is internationally known as part of Azerbaijan.
In fact, Turkey has shown its backing for Azerbaijan in the recent flare-up of a decades-long dispute with Armenia about the area. However, and according to world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, Ankara is going beyond moral support. Macron reported that there is clear evidence Syrian extremist fighters are being sent through Turkey to fight against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Moreover, Britain-based wars monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights declared last week that almost 64 pro-Turkey Syrian fighters were death in the confrontations.
According to Profazio, Turkey’s dismissal of the use of foreign mercenaries is part of hybrid warfare, in which world powers use agents to secretly fight in different theaters
Profazio said: Turkey has reportedly enrolled and deployed Syrian fighters coming from the same armed groups both in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, with reports referring to the Sultan Murad [Brigades] as one of the main sources of foreign fighters in both theaters.
According to Profazio, Ankara’s dual approach – in declaring its military involvement in Libya and reducing its efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh, stems from the MoU signed with the GNA. Besides, and according to expert Henri Barkey. Turkey has to be careful about openly admitting military support against Armenia due to global reactions.
Barkey, a fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Al Arabiya English: They cannot be seen as openly fighting Armenians…. here in the US especially and in Europe, because it conjures the Armenian Genocide.
According to former Turkish parliament member Aykan Erdemir, Turkey has a well-established tradition of training militaries in Asian and African countries; however the government under Erdogan has overhauled this policy since the Syrian civil war by equipping and training mercenaries.
Erdemir, who is now senior director at the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, informed Al Arabiya English that Ankara has seen military-to-military relations as an important means to gain political access and expand diplomatic influence.