Algiers and Ankara boosted their diplomatic ties by signalling cooperation on the Libyan crisis, while the former fears Libya’s unrest may spill over into its territory.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with President of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Berlin where he will attend a summit on Libya at the invitation of Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with President of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Berlin where he will attend a summit on Libya at the invitation of Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. (Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)

Diplomatic traffic between Algeria and Turkey increased recently amid the Libyan crisis that has showed a rapid escalation. Turkey began the deployment of troops to Libya, Algeria’s neighbour, in a bid to prevent the escalation of violence and support the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli. 

On the first week of January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Algeria’s President Abdelmajid Tebboune to discuss bilateral relations and the Libyan crisis.

Cavusoglu says Turkey’s intention to cooperate with Algeria has a good reason: common interests on regional issues, especially on the Libyan crisis.

On the same day, Tebboune invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Algeria -- a move that signalled possible cooperation between the countries regarding Libya. 

Before the official visit that was confirmed by Erdogan, the duo met last week at a summit on Libya.

Algeria has been maintaining good relations with all sides in Libya, the UN-backed internationally-backed government and the warlord Khalifa Haftar who commands an armed militia based in eastern Libya. 

The country elected Tebboune last month amid the worst political crisis in decades, and economic problems due to shrinking oil revenues. Despite attempting to keep its distance from the crisis at its borders while dealing with its domestic problems, the escalating tensions in its border pushed Algeria to be more involved in the Libyan crisis.

“The Turkish-Algerian rapprochement over the Libyan file had existed before, but the presence of the new Algerian authority increased the support for this rapprochement further," Dr Ismail Khalafallah, the Algerian writer and political analyst, told TRT World.

According to Khafallah, the encroachment is no surprise considering that warlord Haftar and the countries supporting him “always try to exclude Algeria from Libyan scene and diminish its role”.

During the week he met with the Turkish foreign minister, the Algerian president also met with Fayes al Sarraj, head of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya.

Tebboune condemned an air strike on a military school in Libya’s capital by Haftar’s militia following the meeting with Sarraj.

"Algeria regards Tripoli as a red line and expects no one to cross it," Tebboune said.

 "The attack on the military school in Tripoli, which caused the deaths of 30 students, is considered a war crime," Tebboune said as he called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the military escalation. 

Algiers also now has security concerns, as it fears that armed groups eventually could enter its territory and attack its oil and gas facilities.

Turkey and Russia organised peace talks in Moscow this month in an effort to persuade the rivals to sign a binding ceasefire and stabilise the country. But the talks failed with the warlord Haftar leaving Moscow without signing an agreement, while the UN-backed government did sign.

Source: TRT World