The Libyan Herald has published an article titled “Ambassador To Turkey Remains In Place But Relations With Ankara Take Another Knock” which looks at some of the controversy in Libyan over what is perceived as Turkish support for the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood. According to the article, reposted on an individual’s Facebook page:
Tripoli, 4 September 2014: The Libyan Ambassador in Cairo, Abdul-Aziz Jibril, has denied saying that the Libyan Ambassador to Turkey has been recalled.
He told the Libya Herald that reports quoting him as saying that Ambassador Abdulrazak Abdulqader had been recalled from Ankara because of a row between the House of Representatives and Turkey were false. He added that he was frustrated with the media for making the claims. Abdulqader was still in Turkey, he said.
Meanwhile, however, businessmen in Tobruk have said they will boycott Turkish goods over the spat.
The hostilities were prompted by comments from Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Al-Jazeera TV. He reportedly said that Turkey could not accept the Libyan legislature’s meeting in Tobruk, a statement that has been made in the past by Libya Dawn, the coalition of Misratan-led armed groups currently controlling Tripoli.
On Monday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was ‘surprised’ by what it had perceived as the ‘blatant interference in Libyan internal affairs’. It called on Erdogan to clarify his statements noting that he had congratulated the newly-elected House of Representatives after it held its first session in Tobruk in August.
The Turkish government is widely viewed in Libya as supporting the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood since the revolution, alongside Qatar. Libyan Muslim Brotherhood figures are known to visit Turkey regularly for meetings and use it as a safe haven.
The significance of Libya within the context of the region’s ideological fault-lines came to the fore last month when it emerged that the UAE and Egypt, both bitterly opposed to the brotherhood, had collaborated to bomb positions in Tripoli held by armed groups sympathetic to the Islamist movement.
The Tobruk-based Operation Dignity, which has offered protection to the House of Representatives, has been seen to have the backing of both Egypt and the UAE.
Last week Emirati authorities rounded up at least 30 Libyan nationals believed to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Libya Dawn.
The GMBDW reported in June that unknown gunmen had kidnapped a leading member of a Libyan political party described as affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. We also reported in June that Libyan militias tied to the Muslim Brotherhood had stormed the offices of the country’s prime minister. In May, the GMBDW recommended a new report on the current situation facing the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya which concluded that the Brotherhood organization does not have high levels of public support.
Other GMBDW coverage of events in Libya has included:
- The GMBDW reported in January 2014 that the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood has withdrawn its five ministers from the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
- The GMBDW reported in July 2013 that protestors had attacked the offices of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood yesterday following demonstrations over the assassination of a prominent critic of the Brotherhood.
- In June 2013, Libyan lawmakers elected a Parliament chief strongly supported by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Justice and Construction Party.
- In July 2012, the Libyan Brotherhood suffered what appeared to be a major loss when they finished a distant second place in national elections.
- In 2011, the New York Times reported on what they called the “growing influence of Islamists in Libya”, identifying Qatari Muslim Brotherhood figure Ali Sallabi (aka Ali Salabi), already known to be the Revolution’s “spiritual leader and a close associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, as well as for the first time Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar who was said to lead the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council and is described as a “Muslim Brotherhood figure.” Our predecessor publication had reported on Ali Sallabi and his association with Qaradawi.