Erdoğan's Libya gambit carries major risks - analyst

The adverse developments in Libya are undoubtedly undermining Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as he extended his involvement in the Libyan crisis recently, said Bülent Alirıza, director and senior associate on the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s support to Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), including deploying troops to Libya, against the growing challenge of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under Khalifa Haftar not likely to benefit the Turkish president as he could convince neither Russia, the United States or the European Union, Alirıza said.

"This time Erdogan has not been able to get the understanding he may have expected from either Putin, with whom he discussed the Libyan situation in bilateral meetings in Istanbul, Moscow, and Berlin, or President Donald Trump," the analyst said.

Haftar’s self-styled LNA has been advancing towards Tripoli, where the GNA is based, since April with Russian support. Haftar and his LNA receive support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Russia, while Turkey and Qatar have sided with the U.N.-recognised GNA.

"The negative developments on the ground in Libya are inevitably raising the stakes for Erdogan, who must have hoped that the insertion of the Turkish military factor into the equation would deter Haftar. Haftar has instead chosen to directly threaten Turkey while continuing his attacks on Tripoli," Alirıza said.