By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 30 January 2022:
Turkey’s Ambassador to Libya, Kenan Yilmaz, visited the Municipality of Benghazi yesterday signalling further improved relations between Turkey and presidential candidate Khalifa Hafter’s eastern Libya. Yilmaz was met by a Libyan delegation headed by Sager Bujwari the head of Benghazi Municipality and an ally of Hafter.
The rapprochement could be very significant
The rapprochement could be very significant and blurs the old political fault lines of Turkey and Qatar supporting western Libya while Egypt and the UAE support eastern Libya. If the rapprochement proves genuine and long lasting, it could lead to a complete change in political dynamics with foreign states with strong influence/interference in Libyan affairs. It also questions the mantra that the old political fault lines were based on unchangeable principles such as the Islamist v liberal categorisation.
It underlines that States seek interests and are prepared to change policy for their national interests and politicians, such as Hafter, are prepared to change principles and make peace with old enemies such as Turkey – in pursuit of power.
Practical common interest were discussed
During the visit, many topics of common interest were discussed, including the reopening of the Turkish consulate, the resumption of the direct flight between Benghazi and Istanbul, and the return of Turkish companies to work in Benghazi.
During the meeting, it was also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding between the municipality of Benghazi and one of the municipalities in Turkey.
Experts and specialists in the restoration of historical buildings from the Turkish side and benefit from Turkish experiences in the fields of infrastructure, reconstruction and recycling of solid and liquid waste were also agreed.
The Turkish ambassador was reported by the Municipality to have praised the good reception his delegation received, stressing the importance of joint cooperation for the benefit of all and the desire of the Turkish side to activate the joint economic and commercial movement and to do everything that would strengthen Turkish-Libyan relations by strengthening cooperation in the economic, commercial and service aspects.
Benghazi Municipality head Bujwari also stressed the need to achieve serious and fruitful cooperation and the importance of opening the Turkish consulate, the return of direct flights between Benghazi and Istanbul, and the return of Turkish companies to work in Benghazi, especially those that have previous contracts in the city.