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Turkish Army soldiers prepare their tanks and armoured personnel carriers at a staging area in the outskirts of the village of Sugedigi, Turkey, on the border with Syria, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. The Turkish offensive on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria, codenamed Operation Olive Branch, started on Saturday, heightening tensions in the already complicated Syrian conflict and threatening to further strain ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakesh considered that Libya might turn into a direct confrontation area between Turkey and Egypt, stressing the need to stop the tension and give priority to diplomacy.

In an interview with the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, Yakesh, who assumed the position of Ankara’s ambassador to Cairo between 1995 and 1998, and the Turkish Foreign Minister in 2002-2003, mentioned the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the western region in Egypt, during which he announced the possibility of sending military forces to Libya, in the presence of tribal leaders on the Egyptian and Libyan sides.

He said: “The border between Egypt and Libya is mixed, as part of the tribes in the region are on the Egyptian side and the other part is on the Libyan side. Egypt’s intervention in Libya and the movement of the army there will be easy because there are no natural barriers. The presence of the tribes on both sides of the border facilitates the mission of Egypt.” .

Yakesh emphasized that the Egyptian administration, led by Sisi, considered the “Muslim Brotherhood” the greatest threat to it, and that Libya, under the leadership of the Al-Wefaq government, which it considered linked to the group, constituted a threat to Egypt similar to the threat posed by the PKK to Turkey.

He pointed out that if Turkey continues to strengthen its presence in Libya and its inability to create common ground, the matter may reach a “violent clash” between the Turkish and Egyptian sides.

He considered that it is currently possible to reach a compromise in the event that an opportunity for diplomacy is given, saying: “In the event of diplomatic contacts, diplomats may be able to find solutions that will reduce the losses of both parties. So Turkey should give priority to this matter but it does not do so at the present time.” .

He explained that the agreement to demarcate the maritime borders signed by Turkey with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) came as a “window of opportunity” for Turkey, adding: “But in diplomacy, we cannot achieve everything we want.

Source: Almasdarnews, June 22, 2020