After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's meeting with key leaders in the Libyan crisis, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Turkey has come to the fore once again as a game changer in Middle Eastern politics. Turkey's diplomatic efforts produced a cease-fire at a time when Tripoli was about to fall into the hands of Gen. Khalifa Haftar. Turkey has mobilized many regional and global actors such as Algeria, Tunisia, Italy and Germany to take more initiative in the Libyan crisis.
Turkey has persuaded Russia to change its position in Libya. After the meeting between Erdoğan and Putin, Russia has withdrawn most of its mercenaries from Libya, thereby sending a message to Haftar and his regional supporters to pursue a more flexible policy. Turkey has also persuaded the legitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj to sign the cease-fire deal. However, it seems that it will be difficult to persuade Haftar to accept the cease-fire proposal. There are several reasons and indications of why the proposed cease-fire will not be maintained.
First of all, Haftar and his regional supporters – i.e. the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – will not withdraw from the currently captured regions. Since he launched an offensive against Libya's capital Tripoli last April, Haftar has taken over most of the country. He now controls more than 80% of the country's territory. However, more than half of the country's population lives under the control of the legitimate government in Tripoli and its outskirts. Haftar and his supporters will not accept ceding these gains.
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