Turkish businessmen seek early foothold in Libya with July visit

A delegation of Turkish businessmen is preparing to visit war-torn Libya this month to make offers to rebuild the country and help secure its energy needs.

The group is set to visit the country within two weeks, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing two officials familiar with the plans.

The businessmen will draw up a business plan, initially concentrating on meeting Libya’s energy needs and rebuilding or renewing its infrastructure, the officials said.

Turkey is pushing its political and economic agenda in Libya after helping the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli repel an advance by rebels led by General Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Politicians may also join the trip, which will be led by a committee of business representatives, the officials said.

Turkish state-run banks will help set up Libya’s banking system and industry regulator, as well as funnel payments through Turkey for Libyan imports, one official said.

“Concrete steps could be taken in the period ahead,” said the person, who requested anonymity, according to Reuters.

Turkish businesses have a contract backlog of some $16 billion from past projects in Libya. One of the officials said it may take time for Tripoli to make the payments.