Erdogan in bid to drag Algeria into Libyan war

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at an event in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP)
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Updated 31 December 2019

Erdogan in bid to drag Algeria into Libyan war

ANKARA: The Turkish Navy is set to dispatch two frigates to Algeria to start joint maritime exercises.

With regional tensions simmering in the eastern Mediterranean, experts have drawn attention to the timing and objectives of the move considering Algeria neighbors war-torn Libya from the east.

The exercise not only coincides with the 500th year of commemoration of Oruc Reis, an Ottoman governor in North Africa who discovered the island of Djerba in Tunisia, but also Ankara’s surprise introduction of visa-free travel for Algerians.

The two frigates are expected to be forwarded between Jan. 7 and 10. During the dispatch, Algerian naval forces will also receive training from their Turkish counterparts.

The Tunisian presidency recently denied claims that the country would join an alliance with Turkey and Algeria in resolving the Libyan crisis.

Last month, Turkey and Libya signed a military cooperation deal and another on the delimitation of maritime borders, under which Turkey got the green light to deploy its own troops at the request of Libya’s government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), during their meeting in Istanbul. (File/AFP)

Syrian fighters were also dispatched to support Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, to fight against General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, which control the country’s east.

Algeria’s newly elected President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has recently chaired a top security meeting to discuss contingency plans for a possible Turkish military intervention in neighboring Libya.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune puts on the presidential collar of the National Order of Merit, during the formal swearing-in ceremony in the capital Algiers on December 19, 2019. (File/AFP)

A parliamentary vote in Turkey is expected for early January on deploying troops to Libya, including formation of an elite Libyan force to respond directly to threats, as well as allocation of weapons, conducting of joint exercises and exchange of counter-terror intelligence.

Yahia Zoubir, director of research in geopolitics at the Kedge Business School in Marseille and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, said the situation in Libya is worrisome for Algeria.

“The naval exercise must have been planned earlier. While Oruc Reis is part of Algeria’s history and pride, the Turkish military presence in Libya isn’t welcome for Algerians because Ankara is a member of NATO,” he told Arab News.

Zoubir said that Algerians see foreign presence in the region with suspicion and believe that it is part of a plan to destabilize the region for access to oil and gas.

“There is no doubt that the Algerian military is going to strengthen its borders with Libya and Tunisia, and will continue calling for a political, negotiated solution among Libyans,” he added.

Algerian citizens aged under 18 and over 65 were recently granted entry permits to Turkey with a presidential decree.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to Tunis on Dec. 25 for talks with his counterpart President Kais Saied.

Tunisian President Kais Saied meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tunis. (File/AFP)

Gallia Lindenstrauss, senior research fellow from the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said the Turkey-GNA maritime border delimitation agreement has made the survival of the GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj critical for Turkey and Ankara is hoping for Tunisian and Algerian assistance to support him.

“Moreover, it seems that Erdogan’s surprise visit to Tunisia last week did not bring with it the desired result for Ankara in the context of Libya, so this potentially makes Algeria even more important for Turkey,” she told Arab News.

Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

Updated 12 August 2020

Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

  • According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries
  • Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian hard-liners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani’s nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May despite the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.
The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively moderate Rouhani. Under the law, Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his Cabinet in the next three months.
Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.
Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 331,000 confirmed cases and at least 18,800 deaths.