Türkiye, Libya sign deals on maritime energy explorations

Türkiye and Libya on Monday signed a series of interim economic agreements that include potential energy exploration in sea areas, Turkey’s foreign minister said, stressing the strong ties between Ankara and Tripoli.

The agreements will enable oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters and come three years after the two countries signed a maritime border agreement.

At a ceremony in Tripoli, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said they had signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) aimed at benefiting both countries.

“We have signed a memorandum of understanding for mixed Turkish-Libyan companies to explore for hydrocarbons in Libya’s territorial waters and soil,” Çavuşoğlu said.

The deals came after a high-level delegation traveled to the North African country’s capital for talks on bilateral relations and regional issues.

They follow an agreement Türkiye signed with the Government of National Unity (GNA) in Tripoli in 2019 over the eastern Mediterranean, which demarcated the countries’ common sea borders to prevent fait accompli by regional states. The two countries also signed an agreement on military cooperation.

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“It doesn’t matter what they think,” Çavuşoğlu said when asked if other countries might object to the new deals.

He stressed that the new agreements were made between “two sovereign countries – it’s a win-win situation for both, and third countries have no right to interfere”.

Mangoush, foreign minister in Libya’s government of national unity, said the new deal is “important,” especially given “the Ukraine crisis and its impact” on energy markets.

Çavuşoğlu was accompanied in Tripoli by a high-level delegation that included Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Trade Minister Mehmet Muş, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın.

The Turkish officials met with their counterparts, as well as with Mohamed al-Menfi, the head of the Libyan Presidential Council; Abdullah al-Lafi and Musa al-Koni, members of the Presidential Council of Libya; Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, head of the Tripoli-based unity government, and Khalid al-Mishri, head of the Libyan High Council of State.

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Türkiye was a major supporter of the Tripoli-based GNA. Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye has always stood by Libya and its people in times of need, stressing that it will continue its support without hesitation.

On the elections in Libya, Turkey’s top diplomat said it should be a Libyan-determined process and called for a roadmap to be drawn up.

“Elections must be held transparently, fairly and democratically. The election results must be accepted by all parties in the country, they are of great importance not only for national unity but also for political stability, and Türkiye attaches great importance to that,” he added.

In August this year, deadly clashes erupted in the Libyan capital of Tripoli between forces supporting Dbeibah and those loyal to his rival Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister by the Tobruk parliament. It left 32 dead and 159 injured.

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Libya fell into chaos after the ouster and assassination of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed insurgency, with myriad armed groups and foreign powers invading to fill the power vacuum.

The violence, the worst since a ceasefire was reached in 2020, came amid military build-ups by forces linked to Dbeibah and Bashagha, as both figures claim power and authority in the North African country.

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