In January 2020  world leaders pledged not to interfere in Libya's civil conflict and vowed to uphold a UN arms embargo. Soon after, Erdogan sent Turkish warships accompanied by Syrian mercenaries to Libya precisely to interfere.

Mr Macron said the presence of Turkish warships was "a clear violation" of what Erdogan had pledged in Berlin on 19 January during a conference on Libya with other world leaders. Mr Macron called Turkey's actions "detrimental to the security of all Europeans and Sahelians". The majority of the stakeholders in Libya have expressed opposition to Turkey’s military activities in the country.

Erdogan feels an affinity for Sarraj, who leads one of the two factions on the civil war, since his government comprises elements close to the Muslim Brotherhood, to whom Erdogan himself is close. This, however, is not the main reason why Erdogan wants to ensure that Sarraj remains in power. Erdogan and Sarraj  signed a memorandum of understanding delineating their share of the eastern Mediterranean between the shores of the two countries facing each other. This was designed to cut through the region jointly claimed for energy exploration by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, who also have the support of the United States, the European Union and Israel.

General Hifter, who leads the other faction, has promised to tear up this deal if he comes to power. The bottom line, however, is that Erdogan will be the greatest loser should Hifter gain control of Libya whether by force or under another arrangement. This is why many Turks worry that Erdogan’s policy of jumping first and thinking later while others tread cautiously will ultimately work to Ankara’s disadvantage in Libya, as it did in Syria.