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From 'zero problems' to zero trade

Ankara’s support of the Islamist-controlled National General Congress instead of the government in Tobruk has had dire consequences for Turkish business interests in Libya.
People walk past shops at a bazaar in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri February 13, 2015. President Tayyip Erdogan's tirades against the central bank may be stoking turmoil in Turkish financial markets, but they are winning praise from a class of industrialists who have thrived over the past decade and see him as a pillar of their success. Picture taken February 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR4RF73

Turkey’s becoming party to internal conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa is now affecting its business connections, in addition to its political relations. While Egypt was saying that it will stop Turkish roll on-roll off ("Ro-Ro") ferry trips, another serious blow came from Libya. The Tobruk-based government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni accused Turkey of arming Islamists and decided to expel Turkish companies from Libya.

Turkish companies in Libya are owed $4.5 billion and construction equipment worth $7 billion. During the civil war, $1.2 billion worth of machinery was looted from Turkish work sites. What will happen to the debt and the rest of the equipment is not yet clear.

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