As the coronavirus crisis rages across the world, those who hoped that guns might now go silent in theaters of war are finding their desires dashed. In Turkey, where the pandemic is bruising an already crisis-hit economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has showed no sign of backing down from his cross-border military ventures. He seems unperturbed by budget constraints as he presses ahead with his intervention in Libya — and in Syria, as a matter of fact. Never mind that he has had to call for donations to help the needy in the coronavirus pandemic, stunning millions who expected support from the state but were effectively told that Ankara’s coffers are empty in the fight against COVID-19.
Turkey’s role in the Libyan conflict has once again come to the fore amid a renewed escalation around Tripoli since March 25.
Turkey’s allies have launched a fresh offensive against Khalifa Hifter’s Libyan National Army, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in what is suggestively called Operation Peace Storm. Evoking Turkey’s Peace Spring and Olive Branch operations to undo the Kurdish self-rule in northern Syria, the name in itself speaks of Turkey’s influence in Libya, where Ankara backs the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and its Islamist allies.
Turkish military commanders and intelligence officers appear to have a decisive say in the operation center at the Mitiga military academy near Tripoli at present. Erdogan himself had stressed at the outset of the intervention that the Turkish military’s role would focus on command and coordination.
Read more: al-monitor