Turkey says official Libyan gov't targeting its companies there

Libya's internationally-recognized Tobruk government announced a decision to exclude Turkish companies from state projects in Libya. Any ban of Turkish companies would be limited to the eastern rump state where Thinni's forces are in control.

Turkey says official Libyan gov't targeting its companies there

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey accused Libya on Tuesday of targeting its companies there after the internationally recognised government said it would cancel contracts of Turkish businesses operating in the troubled north African state.

Libya's beleaguered official government, which only controls eastern parts of the country, announced a ban on Turkish firms after accusing Ankara of supporting the rival administration that seized control of the capital Tripoli last summer.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday rejected the official government's decision and appeared to question the legitimacy of its leader, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.

"The decision to bar Turkish companies ... carries no value, considering the political and security crisis Libya has been going through and the debate regarding legitimacy," Tanju Bilgic said in an emailed statement.

"The transitional government which is expected to make efforts for peace and stability in Libya has, on the contrary, targeted our companies, which work for the development of Libya."

But Libya's Tripoli-based government has dismissed a ban on Turkish companies imposed by the rival government based in Tobruk, saying such a ban could only be applied in the latter government's area of control in the country's east.

"The Tobruk government is using the issue of Turkish companies as a pressure tool to achieve political goals," Omar Hussein Baio, spokesman for the Tripoli government, told The Anadolu Agency.

The ban, he said, could only be applied in the Libya's eastern region, which is controlled by troops loyal to the Tobruk-based cabinet.

Last week, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni warned Turkey of measures that could be potentially taken against Turkish companies due to what he described as Turkish "interference" in Libya's affairs.

This interference, al-Thinni said at a press conference, "negatively impacts Libya's security and stability."

Last week, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said his country's support for Libya since the country's 2011 revolution had "always been clear," especially in the form of Turkish support for Libya's reconstruction efforts and the development of the country's state institutions.

Turkey has close historic ties with Libya and Turkish businesses have traditionally had a strong presence there. But the country has been riven with conflicts since the toppling of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Turkey Contractors' Association said last year that $19 billion of construction projects alone have been mothballed by Turkish firms in Libya because of fighting between rival factions.

Turkey's special envoy to Syria last year became the first foreign diplomat to meet publicly with the Tripoli government.

Major world powers have boycotted the Tripoli government, but the United Nations has included lawmakers from the rival parliament in a dialogue aimed at defusing the power struggle.

Libya's official government banned Palestinians, Syrians and Sudanese from entry in January, saying their countries were undermining Libya's security.

Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since a bloody uprising ended the decades-long rule of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011.

Since then, sharp political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government in the country, each of which has its own institutions.

Vying for legislative authority are the House of Representatives, which convenes in Tobruk, and the General National Congress, which – even though its mandate has ended – continues to convene in Tripoli.

The two assemblies support two different governments, respectively headquartered in the two cities. Both have substantial military capacities.


Last Mod: 24 Şubat 2015, 14:07
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