As Libya continues to face a critical period, two agreements signed last November with Turkey dealing with maritime jurisdictions and security cooperation changed the fate of the country for the better, according to Libyan experts.

Turkey is a longtime supporter of Libya’s Government of National Accord, established in late 2015 under an agreement for a political solution in the country, the same government which the UN has recognized as Libya’s legitimate administration since the day it began.

Despite this agreement, some European and regional countries supported the attacks launched by warlord Khalifa Haftar, the leader of illegitimate militias in Libya, to seize the capital Tripoli in April 2019, while most international actors remained silent in the face of the putschist general’s attacks.

Nevertheless, the two pacts with Turkey shifted the balances in the country in favor of the legitimate government.

Turkey’s support for the war-torn country prevented it from plunging into further conflict and paved the way for the UN-led political solution process between the warring parties, experts stressed.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdulhadi Dirah, spokesman for the army’s Sirte-Jufra Joint Operations Unit, said: “Thanks to the military support and cooperation of our Turkish brothers under the agreement, the Libyan army succeeded in removing Haftar’s forces from the western region.”

“The Libyan government called on the international community, the UN, US, Europe and neighboring countries to help the country in times of crisis. Turkey, however, was the only country which provided military assistance to us,” Mohammed Ali Abdallah, political advisor for US affairs to Libya’s prime minister, told Anadolu Agency.

“EU countries were just watching while Haftar militias were killing people and bombing hospitals,” Libyan political analyst and activist Ahmed Sewehli told Anadolu Agency.

Sewehli underlined that without Turkey’s intervention to halt the attacks on the capital, Haftar would have taken control of Tripoli and proclaimed himself dictator.

Last month, during the UN-brokered Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, representatives of the internationally recognized government and Haftar agreed to hold general elections on Dec. 24, 2021.

Participants at the forum agreed on the scope, duties, and powers of the Presidential Council, which will be composed of three members, each of whom will represent Libya’s three regions.

Likewise, an agreement was reached on the powers and duties of the government that will undertake the executive power.

A total of 75 people selected by the UN to represent different regions of Libya attended the forum in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Government of National Accord was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar’s forces.

The UN recognizes Fayez al-Sarraj’s government as the country’s legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

In recent months, as Haftar’s militias were forced into retreat by the legitimate government, with Turkish security assistance, many mass graves were found in areas the militias had controlled.

Turkey also supports the Al-Sarraj-led government.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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