Turkish-Libyan trade soars 43% because of maritime deal -businessman

Trade between Turkey and Libya has generate $2.3 billion in the last two years since the two concluded a maritime deal that incensed regional powers, the head of the Turkey-Libya Business Council said on Friday.

Murtaza Karanfil, the leader of the Turkey-Libya Business Council at Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), said that trade has soared by 43% since 2019 and expects it to reach $3 billion.  

"Turkey's support ensures Libya's independence and internal peace. Turkey should attach importance to relations with Libya in order to protect the law in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Cyprus," said Karanfil. 

"A short sea distance to Europe and low fuel, real estate, transportation and rental costs make Libya very important to us."

Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya’s Government of National Accords (GNA) in November 2019 established a border at sea in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The deal infringed on the exclusive economic zones of several regional powers, including Egypt, Greece and Cyprus. 

The deal helped to legitimise Turkey’s expansive claims to natural gas resources in the region, a point of severe disagreement between it and its neighbours. Maintaining the deal influenced Turkey’s decision to intervene militarily on behalf of the GNA in January 2020, protecting Tripoli from being conquered by the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. 

Libya’s transitional government under Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has previously said that it would respect the earlier deal.

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