On 16 January, some Libyan tribal leaders and public figures called to shut down oil terminals in protest against what they describe as the UN-backed Government of National Accord’s (GNA) payments for foreign military support using oil revenues.
The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) has declared a state of emergency after oil supplies from several ports were suspended.
The statement comes after the company said earlier in the day that the possible shutdown of oil terminals would have far-reaching negative consequences for the nation’s economy.
Libyan media reported on 17 January that protesters had entered the oil port of Zueitina in the eastern part of the country, but the terminal had not been closed.
Prior to this, Turkish special forces reportedly started arriving in Tripoli to “ensure the safety of officials of the Government of National Accord (GNA)” following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed commitment to support the GNA by sending troops to Libya.
Libya has been mired in a severe political crisis since a coup in 2011 that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi. Two rival administrations have since then practically split the oil-rich country in two, with the Libyan National Army (LNA) controlling the east and the GNA controlling the west.
The situation has escalated over the past several weeks as LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops to advance on the GNA-held capital of Tripoli. The LNA and the GNA, which is getting military support from Turkey, will take part in an upcoming peace conference in Berlin on 19 January. Earlier in January, Russia and Turkey called on Libya’s warring parties to end hostilities in the country.
In November, Ankara and the GNA signed a military cooperation agreement, triggering a backlash from the rival east-based Libyan administration, as well as Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and a host of other countries. Turkey has since been threatening to deploy troops to Libya to help the Tripoli-based government in its fight against the Libyan National Army (LNA), which backs the eastern government.
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