Photos | Turkey’s New Message to Libyans: All GNA’s Meetings Are Under Our Supervision – Al Marsad

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrived in Tripoli on Monday accompanied by his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah in a visit that was unannounced, but it had new and explicit implications.

(Libya, 17 August 2020) – Recently, and as a demonstration of Turkey’s control over the Fayez al-Sarraj’s government, Ankara has been overseeing all the meetings of foreign delegations to Tripoli and even the meetings of the leaders of the Presidential Council abroad.

It is no longer surprising, as these pictures show, that Hulusi Akar sits in a chair in the Mitiga Airport lounge on which a person from the host country, namely Libya, should have sat, unless Akar has become a Libyan national or the de facto ruler of Libya. This is a complete contravention of diplomatic protocol in all countries which are fundamental part of respecting a nation’s sovereignty.

Yet a Turkish custom seems to have been imposed on Libya recently. The Turks have supervised the visit of the Qatari minister and his accompanying delegation and the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu had supervised the visit of his Maltese counterpart, Evarist Bartolo, to Tripoli on 6 August. It seems that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the expired Government of National Accord (GNA) and its protocol department has become redundant. Libyan analysts are already using the phrase “Occupied Tripoli” on social media to describe the present status quo. 

The Turkish Foreign Minister supervising the visit of his Maltese counterpart and attending the meetings

Hulusi Akar had also himself organised and supervised a meeting that took place in Ankara between Fathi Bashagha and the Maltese Minister for Home Affairs, National Security, and Law Enforcement, Byron Camilleri.

Hulusi Akar hosting the meeting in Ankara between Fathi Bashagha and the Maltese Minister for Home Affairs Byron Camilleri.

This humiliating conduct by Turkish officials to Libyan officials was also on display with Fayez al-Sarraj himself, both at home and abroad. Senior intelligence officers and the officers of the Turkish Foreign Ministry attend his meetings with foreign officials and even some ambassadors, almost as a perpetual reminder to the Tripoli government of who is actually in charge. 

By doing so, Turkey is not only reaffirming to Libyans, its neighbours, and the world, not only that Turkey is the official sponsor of the Presidential Council and the GNA, but that it is also a full-fledged partner in governing the capital and is therefore entitled to attend meetings and making decisions on its behalf.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)