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Turkey's intel chief visits Libya following trip by CIA head

Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan paid a visit to Libya only days after his American counterpart, William Burns, traveled to the conflict-torn country.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (C), Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (R) and head of the Turkish Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan (L).

Libya hosted two intelligence chiefs within a span of a week, with Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan paying a visit to Tripoli Tuesday after CIA head William Burns visited the war-torn country last week.

Turkish and Libyan media reported that Fidan met with Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah after he traveled to Libya from Sudan where he had met with Sudan's military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Fidan's visit came after a Tripoli court last week ruled against a hydrocarbon exploration deal that the Dbeibah-led Government of National Unity (GNU) signed with Ankara last year. Citing a judicial source, Reuters reported that the court suspended the deal that aimed to allow joint Turkish-Libyan exploration for gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of a controversial maritime demarcation agreement between Ankara and Tripoli in 2019. The deal has turned into a source of tensions between Turkey, Egypt and Greece over conflicting claims in the Eastern Mediterranean. Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament has stopped short of ratifying the deal.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that the Libyan officials from the Tripoli-based government told him they were standing behind the agreement during their conversations over the court’s ruling.

The Tripoli court left room for the GNU to appeal the ruling, according to the Reuters report. 

Turkey’s military and intelligence support to the Tripoli-based forces tipped the balance of power against eastern forces led by Khalifa Hifter, who has been backed by Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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