Turkey approves new trade deal with Libya government amid talk of energy exploration

Turkey approves new trade deal with Libya government amid talk of energy exploration
Ankara has announced an agreement to boost economic and trade ties with Libya as reports indicate Turkey is pursuing energy exploration in the oil-rich North African nation.
2 min read
16 September, 2020
The agreement was approved on Tuesday [Getty]
Turkey approved on Tuesday a new memorandum of understanding with the Libyan government to boost trade and economic ties between the two nations, Turkey's official gazette announced.

The trade deal signed last month follows maritime and military cooperation agreements between Ankara and the UN-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) last year.

The new agreement comes amid increasing signs of a Turkish bid to penetrate the Libyan oil and gas industry. Libya holds the largest oil reserves in Africa.

Turkish officials are currently in talks to secure oil and gas exploration rights in both onshore and offshore reserves, Bloomberg reported last week.

Murtaza Karanfil, head of the Foreign Economic Relations Board's Turkey-Libya Business Council, told state news agency Anadolu that Libyan officials have said Turkish energy companies "should receive a higher share" of the country's reserves.

"In the coming periods, we plan to sign an agreement on this issue, and we believe that this will create an unbreakable corridor between us and Libya," Karanfil said.

Previous agreements to increase maritime and military cooperation between Turkey and Libya's UN-supported government have been met with an increase in regional tensions.

Turkish military assistance this year has seen the Tripoli government beat back rogue general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces had made a bid to capture the capital.

But last year's agreement outlining a Turkish and Libyan Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean drew ire from regional rivals Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, compounded by Ankara's exploration efforts in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

The Turkish-Libyan trade deal also signals the greater involvement of Turkish firms in reconstruction and other development works, pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

Ankara also hopes to increase exports to the country, which continue to stand below the levels seen before civil war ignited in 2013.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected