By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 18 November 2017:
A group of members of the House of Representatives has called for closer relations with Turkey. The group, consisting of eight members who support the Presidency Council, arrived earlier during the week in Ankara at the invitation of the Turkish government. During the week, they met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as member of the Turkish parliaments foreign affairs committee and deputy foreign minister Ahmet Yildiz, and Turkey’s special envoy for Libya Emrullah Isler. They also met with the Turkish Contractors Association.
Later in Istanbul, there were meetings with municipal officials and with the Foreign Economic Relations Board.
According to Benghazi member Ziyad Daghim, the visit – in return for that by Isler to Tripoli last month – was aimed at improving relations with Turkey and changing what he called “misconceptions” about it back in Libya.
Although Turkey maintains close relations with the PC and its government of national accord, it is viewed with suspicion in eastern Libya where the Beida-based government of Abdullah Thinni as well as the Libyan National Army and those around HoR president Ageela Saleh have been openly critical of it. They have accused it, along with Qatar, of interfering in Libyan affairs by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist militants. As a result, while Turkey was the first country to reopen its embassy in Tripoli and kept its consulate in Misrata open throughout the period of the diplomatic exodus from Libya, it has not reopened the consulate in Benghazi – and for the moment has no plans to do so.
According to Daghim, the talks also covered the issue of outstanding payments to Turkish companies.
The kidnapping of three Turkish engineers in Obari at the beginning of the month and security for Turkish companies in Libya or planning to go to Libya was also reportedly discussed, as was the requirement for Libyans to have visas to visit Turkey.