The Turkish occupation forces recently completed military exercises off the coast of Libya, according to the Turkish Ministry of Defense. The drills, which took place aboard the TCG Gemlik frigate as part of the Turkish Naval Task Group, included live-fire weapons tests, helicopter operations, vertical replenishment exercises, and boarding trainings.
The exercises occur amid ongoing controversy over Turkey’s military involvement in Libya. Analysts characterize the naval drills as a demonstration of force intended to assert Turkey’s continued presence in the eastern Mediterranean as a key backer in Libya’s complex civil war. The exercises have drawn criticism from opponents who see the activities as unlawful military posturing in foreign waters by occupation forces.
According to international maritime law experts, while countries have a right to freely navigate open waters, conducting live-fire drills and other military operations off the coast of a foreign state is widely seen as provocative and contentious.
By publicizing the drills, Turkey appears to be reinforcing its narrative of influence in the region. However, their actions continue to be perceived as an occupation by many Libyan groups and regional observers. The exercises exemplify the delicate military and geopolitical balances surrounding the ongoing conflict in Libya.