Turkey’s most recent steps in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean raised questions in foreign capitals about that country’s international standing. As Americans grappled with President Donald Trump’s call to delay the 2020 elections, the European media went berzerk over the Hagia Sophia’s reclassification as a mosque. On the one hand, they called on European leaders to respond to “Sultan” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whom they charged with neo-Ottomanist expansionism. At the same time, European reporters appreciate that Erdoğan has been filling the power vacuum that the United States left behind, empowering his country in the process. They also understand that the Turkish president, as an experienced leader, does what his European counterparts fail to do and takes his country to a new level of agency.
In Libya, the Government of National Accord's (GNA) forces continue to take control of critical locations around the country's capital Tripoli from militias loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar. After the GNA's capture of the strategic al-Watiya air base two weeks ago, it managed to then take control of Tripoli International Airport. The seizure of the airport and the surrounding areas in the south and east of the city are critical achievements for the GNA. Haftar's forces are withdrawing to eastern and southern parts of the capital after their defeats. His militias also withdrew from Tarhuna, their last remaining stronghold in the western part of Libya. At the same time, a tacit agreement from the government's side was demonstrated as GNA troops did not attack the withdrawing forces. This handling of the Tarhuna withdrawal by the GNA and the pro-Haftar elements is a diplomatically promising step toward political talks.
The Saudi-UAE alliance's risky ventures, which designate Iran as an archrival and Turkey as an adversary, makes them vulnerable to demands from the U.S.-Israel axis and undermine their international credibility