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Erdogan 'uncomfortable' with Libyan ally's visits to France and Egypt

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 25 November 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 25 November 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "is uncomfortable" with the visits to France and Egypt by Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, Al-Quds Al-Araby reported on Monday. Erdogan made his comments directly to Libyan officials, including Bashagha and the Head of Libya's High Council of State, Khalid Al-Mishri, whose latest remarks and stances are also disapproved of by the Turkish leader.

Apparently, the president was angered by Bashagha's visit to Paris where he met French ministers and signed a security agreement with a local company. CNN Turkey also reported the issue, but did not provide further details about why Erdogan was upset about the visit to Egypt, other than that it could "affect" the officials' future stances.

Sources close to those involved said that a large number of ministers in Libya's Government of National Accord take Erdogan's side on the Libyan issue. They stressed that what has happened will not change the reality on the ground.

During his meeting, Erdogan suggested that France and Egypt are attempting to rule Turkey out of the Libyan issue by pushing Aqila Saleh as the successor to Khalifa Haftar.

READ: Turkey braces itself for the Biden era with more challenges ahead

Bashagha, meanwhile, explained that his meeting with his French counterpart was "fruitful", and that they discussed mutual security cooperation to stabilise the two countries and the region. In his visit to Cairo last month he discussed with senior Egyptian officials the "common challenges, reinforcement of security cooperation and putting the efforts to fight terror and crimes together."

These developments come amidst "unprecedented" cooperation between France and Egypt over the crises in the Middle East. The presidents of France and Egypt are enthusiastic supporters of renegade Field Marshal Haftar.

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