Erdoğan's Libya intervention might hurt him domestically - the Guardian

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's military intervention in Libya is part of a set of tactics to turn public attention away from domestic problems, but it might come back to hurt him, the Guardian newspaper said on Monday.

Erdoğan last week announced Turkish troops had begun to arrive in Libya to support the U.N.-recognised government in Tripoli against General Khalifa Haftar whose eastern-based forces are besieging the capital.

"Of late, Erdoğan has taken to shifting public attention away from domestic issues to global ones – often suggesting the country is locked in an existential struggle with foes such as the U.S. and Kurdish militant groups – to whip up nationalistic support," the Guardian said.

But intervention in Libya has little support among the Turkish public, unlike Ankara's incursion into northern Syria late last year that targeted Syrian Kurdish forces, it said.

Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) last year suffered its biggest electoral defeat since it came to power in 2002, losing control of the municipalities of major cities in March local elections.

But it is not clear if the elections will play a pivotal role in bringing political change because of "the increasingly nationalist and expansionist view of the AKP", said Sinem Adar, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

“We see the manifestations of this logic in the military incursions in Syria, the eastern Mediterranean and Libya. From a pessimistic point of view, 2020 might deepen Turkey’s political crisis by shifting towards the deployment of non-constitutional means,” the Guardian quoted Adar as saying.