Turkey Likely to Employ Somali Fighters in Libya

Turkey Libya
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L) hold a joint press conference at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on 4 June, 2020 [Metin Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

Reports indicate that Turkey is looking to hire Somali fighters to join their military agenda in Libya; Turkey has already sent several thousand fighters from Syria to Libya.


As Turkey continues their pursuit in Libya towards the city of Sirte, it’s believed they’re now recruiting militants out of Somalia to help fight their battle. The defense minister of Turkey visited Qatar over the weekend which certainly is playing a role in this speculation. The reason being that Qatar has military outposts in Somalia and trains some of its fighters.

Turkey is backing the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), and more recently, has set its sights on the oil benefits that come with the city of Sirte. Egypt has warned Turkey to leave the region. Additionally, as of earlier in the week. Egypt has deployed troops to Libya should a military confrontation with Turkey be necessary.

In recent time, Turkey also hired nearly 4,000 fighters from Syria to go fight their cause, which was met with criticism on a global scale. Their newfound interest in Somali fighters is likely for the purpose of pivoting attention away from their use of Syrian fighters.

Several countries are now in play when it comes to the conflict in Libya. What’s taking place quickly went from the Libyan civil war between the GNA and Khalifa Haftar to a multi-country military conflict. As of Wednesday, Algeria and Tunisia both voiced their support for Egypt in this conflict. Turkey is utilizing Somali and Syrian fighters. Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also support Egypt, and therefore, Khalifa’s forces.

Libya remains divided, and there’s no question that Turkey sees this as an opportunity to take advantage of.

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