Weeks after the UN-supported Libyan government with the help of Turkey finally took control of a strategic airbase Al-Watiya also known as Okba Ibn Nafa Air Base in Nuqat al Khams district of western Libya, it is now fast emerging that Ankara is in process of building a massive airbase.
The strategic Al Watiya airbase is Turkey's first military airbase in the Southern Mediterranean and Ankara now is building up the base.
Named after Uqba ibn Nafi, the Islamic general who conquered North Africa, for Libya the airbase is strategic as it is 27 kilometres east of the Tunisian border and 125 kilometres from Tripoli.
It is reported that Turkey has now signed a military agreement with Libya that will allow Ankara to build its own airbase in Al Watiya.
According to a report in Italian Newspaper La Stampa, the GNA's control of Al-Watiya Airbase means it has regained control of almost all the western coastal and semi-coastal belt, while for Ankara it is the first military support facility on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
"Turkey is settling in for a long time in #Libya: Turkish Air Force's Erkilet based 222nd Squadron's Lockheed C-130 Hercules four-engine turboprop military transport climbed out of Istanbul Grand over Bosphorus and now is flying to Misrata. This is the 8th flight in the last 6days," tweeted journalist Yörük Işık.
Reports last week appeared to show that Turkey is building up its airbase in Libya and there has been an increased aerial activity.
Several military transport aircraft including C-130 Hercules has performed over a dozen drops in Libya. There are reports of at least two Turkish F-16s that have been positioned in Libya.
The Turkish warplanes have been frequenting a Mediterranean coastal city in the Misrata District of Libya, which also acts as an airbase and training center for the Libyan Air Force.
Libya Belongs to Turkey
Turkey with a strategic win has been able to not only put the United Nations-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) but also has bolstered its position in Libya.
The Turkish drones played a crucial role in the capture of airbase has dealt a major loss for General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) that is backed by the Russians. Russia has now sent in at least 14 warplanes.
Libya's strategic location at the heart of the Mediterranean, the Maghreb, and as a door to sub-Saharan Africa, as well as its significant oil and gas reserves, makes it a crucial ally for Turkey.
Last year, the GNA signed the maritime delimitation deal with Turkey creating an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to Libya's northeast coast. And now Turkey getting control over the air space over Libya, this will further solidify its position in the Southern Mediterranean region.