Between defeating "the warlord" and defending "the blue homeland": a discourse of legitimacy and security in Turkey's Libya policy


CAMBRIDGE REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, vol.37, no.1, pp.79-102, 2024 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09557571.2022.2089545
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.79-102
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: No


This article seeks to explain Turkey's critical engagement in the partially internationalised conflict in Libya by relying on a discourse analysis of Turkish political elites. Drawing on thematic discourse analysis, the authors argue that these elites utilise, in the way in which they communicate to the external audience (the international community), a discourse of legitimacy by which they lend political support for the UN-recognised government, and declare the General Khalifa Haftar-led forces, its opponents, as illegitimate. Secondly, Turkish foreign policy elites express their commitment to preserving national security interests in the Mediterranean, thereby justifying Turkish involvement in the conflict via a security-laden discourse addressed to the internal audience (the local constituents). Legal disputes, regarding the delimitation of maritime boundaries has served as the basis for Turkey's rapprochement with the Government of the National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj, and its staunch opposition to the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Haftar since the web of intricate relations in the region relevant to such disputes requires the conclusion of bilateral agreements between the governments.