Türkiye-Libya Defence Cooperation: Domestic and Regional Dynamics

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Libya’s Tripoli based Prime Minister of the UN recognised GNA, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, signed 2 defence deals with Türkiye in an effort to strengthen existing defence cooperation between the countries. The deal was signed on October 25, 2022, on the sidelines of the SAHA Expo Defence and Aerospace Exhibition in Istanbul, which he visited as part of his Türkiye tour. The deal espouses according to the statement by the Turkish defence ministry, “the improvement of the efficiency and capabilities of the Libyan air force” denoting direct training and assistance for the Libyan and perhaps other North African countries. Given the fact that Libyan Air Force as of now is extremely limited in its capability, this deal will have significant implications for the future regional scenarios, perhaps opening up the possibility of Turkish made future warplanes to be inducted into Libyan Air Force.

Libya already uses and has successfully demonstrated ability to use Turkish made Bayraktar drones. These drones proved their effectiveness in beating back the Khalifa Haftar led LNA forces from the vicinity of Tripoli, thus saving the government from capitulation. The deals directly open up the possibility for much larger, heavier and sophisticated Akinci drones. This will give significant boosts to the embattled UN recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). Turkish defence ministry further states that they will develop an initiative that aims to bolster the already existing air force training mechanism through consultation “within the framework of the ‘Flight Training Protocol between the Republic of Türkiye and the Government of National Unity of Libya’. The deal “includes an annex with other aviation training programmes, such as training on aircraft, jets and helicopters”. This means Turkish made helicopters and other future developments can be successfully integrated into Libyan air force.

– Md. Tanvir Habib, Lecturer, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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