Escalation in Libya - will Turks pay the price?

An armed international conflict is brewing in Libya after General Haftar, who controls the east of the country, announced the launch of a final assault on Tripoli. Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who is recognised by the UN as the country's leader, is based there. Turkish President Erdoğan has pledged to send ground troops to support the prime minister if necessary.

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T24 (TR) /

No lie can justify this anymore

The Turkish government can't count on the people approving an invasion of Libya, T24 predicts:

“The justification for the intervention in Syria, which not a single country apart from Turkey believed, was the need to secure the borders and the country against terrorist attacks. But what justification will we have for sending Turkish soldiers to Libya, thousands of miles away? ... How will you settle the bill for the blood of each soldier who falls there? At a time when our people are growing poorer with every day that passes, employment is at record levels, entire sectors of the economy from agriculture to industry are collapsing, how do you plan to justify aid and military units being sent to Libya?”

Gazete Duvar (TR) /

Even more complex than Syria

Gazete Duvar considers Ankara's announcement that it will send soldiers to Tripoli if requested to do so as very worrying:

“The situation in Libya is at least as complex and problematic as in Syria - if not even more complex and problematic. Therefore, the price Turkey has to pay there could be at least as high as in Syria, if not higher. Turkey once marched into Syria very adventurously with the expectation of being able to influence the fate of the region on the wave of Arab uprisings. But it was confronted with entirely unexpected crises there. The same could now happen in Libya. So Turkey should reconsider sending its military Libya not just once, but a thousand times.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Special interests an obstacle to talks

The proxy war in Libya is reaching a new level of escalation, observes Die Presse:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that if necessary he will send Turkish soldiers to assist Libya's national unity government. This would be the next step in interfering in a conflict in which numerous external actors have been involved from the outset. ... The conflict can hardly be ended militarily. That would require new serious negotiations. The external players would have to exert their influence on their Libyan partners in order to achieve a viable solution. But in view of their own strategic interests, the motivation for this is lacking.”

La Stampa (IT) /

No say without troops on the ground

Moscow and Ankara will drive the Western powers that overthrew the Gaddafi regime in 2011 out of the North African country, warns editor-in-chief Maurizio Molinari in La Stampa:

“The Erdoğan-Putin tandem would emerge as the new arbitrator of the equilibria - including as regards energy - in the eastern Mediterranean. The mockery of France, Britain, the United States and Italy - which eight years ago intervened with armed force against the Gaddafi regime - could not be more obvious. But the weak reactions to what is emerging in Libya at the moment confirm excessive internal divisions and, above all, the strategic weakness of the allies, which is crucial. In order to have a say in Libya - as in Syria - it's necessary to deploy troops on the ground. And it's Ankara and Moscow that are doing this.”

France Inter (FR) /

A lot at stake for Europe

The EU must overcome its passivity, columnist Pierre Haski agrees in France Inter:

“Turkey is ruthlessly strengthening its position, antagonising the Europeans and using its support for the government in Tripoli to acquire maritime rights that pit it against Greece and Cyprus. … Long weakened by a futile Franco-Italian rivalry, the European Union had not been up to the task of dealing with this crisis until now. But coordination between France, Italy and Germany seems to have improved, and the Spaniard Josep Borrell, the EU's new High Representative for Foreign Affairs, is on familiar terrain here. Europe has too many interests at stake in this crisis for it to remain passive, or worse still, to let itself be divided. This crisis must be declared a priority.”