What Does Turkey’s Erdoğan Want from Southern Libya?

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Turkey continues to recruit mercenaries and foreign militants in order to send them to Libya, to preserve Ankara’s interests and expand its military presence inside the country, sources revealed to Libya Review.

The sources explained that Ankara recruited Sudanese armed groups in order to send them to the South of Libya to target the army forces stationed on the Chadian border. The Libyan-Chadian boarder is a highly volatile area, following the killing of Chad’s President Idriss Déby in armed attacks last April.

The sources added that the company responsible for recruiting a group of Sudanese mercenaries is owned by Turkish businessman Oktay Shaban Hosni. Oktay is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The sources confirmed that Oktay assigned the task of recruiting Sudanese miners to send them to Libya, to a Turkish person named Youssef. Youssef works under the cover of operating in the maintenance of heavy machines and loaders.

Oktay left Sudan after the fall of the previous regime, who assigned him there. Sources said that “the Turkish company responsible for recruitment operations continues to work in various forms due to its officials’ extensive relations with workers and miners in Sudan.”

Observers believe that Turkey views the Libyan South with great interest, as 70% of Libya’s wealth is concentrated in this region.

In February, a report by a team of United Nations Security Council experts revealed that Sudanese armed groups participated in the fighting in Libya.

In recent months, armed groups, most of them foreigners, launched numerous attacks on southern Libya. They targeted the forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which prompted the latter to launch proactive campaigns to “purify”this area.

The continuing efforts to bring mercenaries into Libya and the presence of foreign forces in many parts of Libya remain a major obstacle to the holding of the Libyan upcoming elections, scheduled for next December.

On the sidelines of Libyan Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba’s visit to Turkey on Saturday, Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, said Turkish forces will not leave Libya. This move raises doubts about Ankara’s intention to open the way for a political solution and withdraw mercenaries and its affiliated forces from Libya.