Warlord Khalifa Haftar's meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday has raised eyebrows in Ankara, with many experts arguing that Mitsotakis wants Haftar to make any peace deal conditional to his own demands.
As Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar recently snubbed a ceasefire agreement brokered by Turkey and Russia in Moscow, many Turkish officials believe that foreign players such as the UAE, Egypt and France persuaded the warlord general not to sign the deal.
Germany will host another Libya-focused peace summit on Sunday, and Haftar has already made suspicious moves by secretly flying to Greece on Thursday, raising questions and doubts in Turkey.
Although Greece is not invited to the Berlin summit, it is still flexing its muscle to cause hindrance to the Libyan peace initiative, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying Greece will block any Europe-brokered peace deal on Libya unless the recent maritime deal between Turkey and the UN-recognised Libyan government is annulled.
With Haftar meeting Mitsotakis, the common understanding within Turkish foreign policy circles is that Mitsotakis is trying to convince Haftar to do Greece's bidding in Berlin and make any ceasefire deal subservient to Greece's demand of scrapping Turkey’s maritime deal with the Libyan government.
International law expert Berdal Aral told TRT World that Greece's reputation is at stake as it's counting on a warlord to normalise the "illegality" of its foreign policy objectives in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Of course Greece can object to Turkey’s deal. But the most proper way of doing it in terms of international law is taking the case to the International Court of Justice rather than meeting secretly with a warlord,” said Aral, who teaches international law at Istanbul Medeniyet University.
He added that the ideal way for Greece to engage with Libya is to reach out to its government, which has been recognised by the UN.
But instead of doing that, Aral said “Greece is trying to take advantage of the Libyan war" and push its own agenda at the cost of Libya's peace and stability.
"In the end Haftar has no right to decide on behalf of the Libyan people. Why would Greece want to build relations with a warlord and not remain committed to the international law and norms?" he said.
Regional security analyst Talha Kose said Greece is not as close to Libya as Turkey is, when it comes to the country's affinity with Libya's maritime borders.
"Greece is an ordinary actor in the region. It fears that if Turkey and Egypt start collaborating in the Eastern Mediterranean, it will stop Greece from extracting gas and oil from the region. Therefore, they are trying to play spoilsport," said Kose, who teaches political science at Istanbul-based Ibn Haldun University.
On January 10, Mitsotakis sought US President Donald Trump's intervention to prevent Turkey from making any advances in the Eastern Mediterranean, but much to his dismay, Washington refused to take any harsh action against Ankara.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will stick to facilitating a “diplomatic initiative” to bring down tensions between Greece and Turkey.
According to Kose, Greece failed to pit Washington against Ankara but made some diplomatic gains with the European Union, which condemned Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"There is no chance for the EU to intervene and go against Turkey's deal with the internationally-recognised Libyan government," he said.