Turkey is willing to do business in Libya as Turkish companies have a very long experience in contributing to the development of the North African country, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın has said, citing energy, construction, aviation and port management as potential areas of cooperation.
“Turkey is not a new actor in Libya. Turkish contractors were the prominent foreign entities in constructing Libya’s infrastructure since the 1980s. They have built roads, bridges, ports, hotels and houses. They stopped because of the war,” Kalın told daily Milliyet in an interview over the weekend.
Turkey hosted Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), in Ankara last weekend as their forces continue to advance against General Khalifa Haftar’s troops. Ankara and Tripoli have agreed to intensify bilateral relationship as Sarraj invited the Turkish companies for the reconstruction of the war-torn country.
“Our main principle is that the resources of the country should be used for the Libyans on the basis of a win-win understanding,” Kalın said, stressing that Turkish companies can operate in the fields of energy, aviation, port management and etc. in Libya as there are new areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“But, before this, political stability must be provided,” and the war must stop, the spokesman stated.
Kalın underlined that the political unity and stability in the country will be achieved by the efforts of the GNA in Tripoli and the parliament in Benghazi, reaffirming Ankara’s denial of Haftar as an actor on the future of Libya.
‘Haftar finances own war by Libya’s oil’
“Haftar is using Libya’s natural resources to finance his own war. He seized Libya’s oils since January. He is financing his war by selling this oil in open markets. His revenue is around $4 billion. Why would a country with 6-7 million population suffer?” he asked.
On the positions of the world powers concerning Libya, Kalın cited Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala’s visit to Moscow last week as an important development as Russia has long been reluctant in engaging in dialogue with Sarraj’s government.
“Russia’s meeting with the GNA is positive. Because, at the end of the day, the GNA will be the most important actor on the solution table. Information is floating around about a solution process without Haftar,” he said.
Both Erdoğan and Sarraj had denied any potential role for Haftar in the negotiations between Tripoli and the Tobruk-based administration led by the latter at a press conference in Ankara.
“It’s not difficult to see that the expiration time has come for Haftar,” the spokesman said, maintaining that the United States is no longer recognizing the commander of Libyan National Army as trustworthy.
Citing his phone conversation with U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Kalın said they confirmed that Haftar’s acts were far from being constructive in Libya. “The U.S. administration has a tendency to form a closer relationship with Sarraj government,” he added.