TURKEY: Erdogan Gets Nod To Dispatch Troops To Libya

The New York Times reports:

Expanding his footprint in a volatile region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey received overwhelming approval from Parliament on Thursday for a new military intervention abroad, this time to dispatch troops to Libya.

Coming just months after mounting a third military incursion into Syria, the Libya gambit is the latest example of Turkey’s growing self-confidence as a regional power, analysts say. But some have begun to wonder why Mr. Erdogan is looking to get involved more deeply there now.

Mr. Erdogan has long held an ambition for a kind of restoration of the Ottoman Empire, re-establishing Turkey’s position of leadership in the Muslim world with an expansive foreign policy.

The Associated Press reports:

Erdogan said last month that Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj requested the Turkish deployment after he and Sarraj signed a deal that allows Ankara to dispatch military experts and personnel to Libya. That deal, along with a separate agreement on maritime boundaries between Turkey and Libya, has led to anger across the region and beyond.

Ankara says the deployment is vital for Turkey to safeguard its interests in Libya and in the eastern Mediterranean, where it finds itself increasingly isolated as Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel have established exclusive economic zones paving the way for oil and gas exploration.

“A Libya whose legal government is under threat can spread instability to Turkey,” ruling party legislator Ismet Yilmaz argued in defense of the motion. “Those who shy away from taking steps on grounds that there is a risk will throw our children into a greater danger.”