Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has an incoherent strategy in Libya, which could severely undermine Turkey’s foreign policy goals, analyst Steven A. Cook wrote in Foreign Policy magazine on Thursday.
Turkey is backing Libya’s United Nations-recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in its fight against rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Cook said that Turkey’s Libya intervention does not fit into a coherent foreign and security policy strategy.
“It is a statement of Turkey’s prowess and power, but it is not connected to a clear larger purpose other than national aggrandizement and revenge,” he said.
Cook said that Turkey’s Libya strategy deviates from Turkey’s clear foreign policy and national security concerns in Syria and Libya, which aim to destroy the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and in the eastern Mediterranean, where they are seeking to drill for hydrocarbons.
“Without a strategy to guide them in Libya, the Turks may find themselves exposed and overwhelmed. It is not clear what makes Erdoğan believe that he can discipline Libyan politics in a way that will end the country’s fragmentation and violence,” Cook said.
“Even if Haftar waves the white flag, the Turks are setting themselves up to be the wards of a failing state.”