Ankara, Turkey – As of December 1, 2020 in the Caucasus, after the Azerbaijani (Karabakh) issue has been resolved, the EU’s piracy action on the Turkish cargo ship highlights the integrity and security of Libya in Africa and the Mediterranean.
All kinds of heavy weapons continue to flow from land and air through Egypt to the coup d’état Haftar. The UAE also makes direct shipments with the airline, which are documented. France, Germany and Italy are providing advanced weapons to the offensive putchist General Khalifa Haftar.
During the 2019 Tripoli offensive, France gave Haftar state-of-the-art Javelin missile systems made by the United States, which were granted special permission even to NATO countries. This was reported by the US Congress and accepted by France with a cover-up statement. May 20 January – May 03, 2020 only after Germany held the Libyan peace conference in Berlin, 308.2 million euros of weapons were sold to the coup d’état Sisi administration in Egypt, some of which were transferred to Haftar’s forces. The main purpose of this sale is to use Egypt as a front and send critical weapons to the coup leader General Haftar. The EU has been known to arm Haftar for years in this way.
A German frigate that forcefully and unlawfully boarded a Turkey-flagged cargo vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea did so without the consent of flag state and captain. Operation Irini’s legitimacy is questioned, it violated the principle of freedom of the open seas and ignores the support provided to putschist Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya. Turkey expects allies to act in line with international law. Greece supports arms sales and related traffic to putschist Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya.
Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A new government was founded in 2015 under an UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement have failed in the face of attacks by the warlord Haftar.
Turkey supports the country’s legitimate government based in the capital Tripoli. After the Tripoli axis was controlled by the Government of National Reconciliation, an air bridge was created between Turkey and Libya.
On 18 May 2020, forces affiliated with the UN-recognized and legitimate government in Libya, the Government of National Reconciliation, took control of the Al-Watiya Air Base again, clearing it of forces affiliated with the coup leader Khalifa Haftar. In the later period, flights by the Turkish Armed Forces increased in the region as the Government of National Reconciliation forces dominated the entire Tripoli axis.
Especially after the capture of the Al-Watiya Air Base, an air bridge was created between Turkey and Libya with military cargo planes. As of July 2020, transport aircraft belonging to the TSK have started flying directly to the Al-Watiya Air Base.
During this period, C-130 and A400M transport aircraft belonging to the TSK flew to Al-Watiya Air Base and Misrata. In August 2020, C-130 and A400M transport aircraft operated flights to Al-Watiya Air Base and Misrata. September and October 2020 saw a significant decline in the number of flights.
The drop in flights was directly linked to the fact that heated clashes between the sides were replaced by “peace talks.” As of the end of November 2020, there was an increase in flights to Libya at Al-Watiya Air Base.
On November November 26, 2020 and November 28, 2020, three A400M transport aircraft belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces flew to Libya. All flights were flown to Al-Watiya Air Base. After a long search, there has been a noticeable increase in TSK’s flights to the Al-Watiya Air Base in Libya. In the last week, at least nine flights were carried out to Al-Watiya Air Base with A400M aircraft belonging to the TSK.
Finally, on December 1, 2020, three A400M transport aircraft belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces flew to Libya, Al-Watiya Air Base. One of the aircraft was flown to Al-Watiya Air Base after taking off from Konya. 28 November 2020 after taking off from Konya, the A400M transport plane was observed to land at Al-Watiya Air Base, and the second and third A400M transport aircraft took off from Izmir and Kayseri and flew to Libya, Al-Watiya Air Base. A400M transport aircraft belonging to the TSK, which then departed from Al-Watiya Air Base, returned to Turkey.
A400M transport aircraft with the highest load carrying capacity in the inventory were also actively used in this process for shipments with transport aircraft carried by the TAF to Libya. In this context, A400M transport aircraft was flown from Turkey to Libya for the first time in July 2020. The A400M carries a maximum load of 37 tons, while the C-130 in the inventory of the Turkish Air Force operating on the air bridge can carry a maximum of 20 tons.
Air bridge between Libya and Turkey – A C-130 Hercules transport plane departing from Turkey appeared on civilian air traffic tracking sites on the night connecting May 21 to May 22, 2020. The plane had landed at the Misrata military base in Libya, where Turkish troops are stationed. On May 23, 2020, 2 C-130 transport aircraft departed from Istanbul and 2 C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft took off from behind and followed the same route to Libya. Another C-130 flight took place on 24 May 2020. In the following days, flights between Libya and Turkey, especially with C-130 transport aircraft, continued. In May 2020, at least 15 flights with C-130 transport aircraft and at least 2 flights with C-17 Globemaster III aircraft were conducted between Libya and Turkey.
Turkey and Al-Watiya Air Base – various domestic and foreign sources have stated that Turkey will move troops to Al-Watiya Air Base and even deploy F-16 fighter jets to the base. Built by the United States in World War 2, Al-Watiya is critical in its size and location.
With Russia’s de facto settlement in the region, Libya has been dragged into a new stalemate. The retreat of Haftar’s forces, which began with the fall of Al-Watiya Air Base, has stopped. Although rumors of peace talks have been expressed in the region, the intense armament, especially including the deployment of warplanes, indicates the persistence of hot ”weather” in the region.
In this context, the shipments to Libya are perceived as a sign that Turkey will show more flags in the region and perhaps engage in fire support activities, with the security of Tripoli and its elements in the region being the primary reason.
On 4 July 2020, the Turkish Armed Forces deployed MIM-23B Hawk air defense systems to the Al-Watiya Air Base, which was controlled by forces of the Libyan National Reconciliation Government.