On May 4, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Yaşar Güler and Head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan paid a surprise visit to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. In the course of negotiations with Chairman of Libya's Interim Government of National Unity Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and Chairman of the Presidential Council Mohamed al-Menfi, the sides discussed prospects for strengthening bilateral relations in the light of previously signed intergovernmental agreements.
Upon completing the talks, the Turkish military chief addressed the officers detached for duty and in the presence of Libyan commanders led by Chief of General Staff Army General Mohammad al-Haddad, assuring his subordinates that he won't allow their withdrawal from the fraternal country.
"Turkey's military presence benefits the protection of rights, interests and the assistance to the Libyans, as well as Turkey's interests in the Eastern Mediterranean," Akar said. "Turkey will keep standing with fraternal and friendly countries as regards a fair settlement of their problems. The presence of Turkish janissaries in Libya is key to the protection of laws and rights, and assistance to the Libyan people," the minister stressed.
The urgency of the Turks' visit and negotiations with the current Libyan leadership is quite natural and reasonable. Even despite last month's trip to Ankara by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh heading a representative government delegation.
Turkey experiencуы stepped-up pressure on the part of the United States, leading Western European countries, and the commonwealth of Arab states to urgently withdraw troops from Libya and waive claims to boundary adjustment.
In Libya itself, the still influential "old guard" of those backing ex-Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is seeking to protect Ankara. Thus, chairman of the Supreme State Council (loyal to the old government) Khalid El-Masri said: "The new government is not entitled to cancel any previously signed agreements. Libya is obliged to respect its agreements with Turkey."
At the same time, Rome saw a meeting between Libyan Government of National Unity's Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush and her Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio on April 23, where the former announced the beginning of negotiations with Turkey on the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. "We are interested in the withdrawal of Turkish troops," Mangoush stressed.
The Turkish leadership is concerned about boosted cooperation between the Government of National Unity and the leadership of Egypt, which has currently adopted a tough stance on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's North Africa policy. The Egyptians rightfully believe that all the Turkish statements regarding assistance to Libya in reconstructing its army and law enforcement forces are a mere disguise for consolidating their military presence in this North African Arab country. Cairo is convinced that allied relations between Ankara and Tripoli, which the government of Fayez al-Sarraj sought, pose a real security threat to both Egypt and other Arab states of Northern Africa.