Libya’s interim government recognized the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2020, for the second year in a row. On April 19, 2019 the provisional government had issued a similar recognition.
While this recognition may surprise many people because there is hardly a single Armenian living in Libya, there are, however, geopolitical reasons for taking such an action. Ever since the toppling and killing in 2012 of Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, the country has been in constant turmoil with various military factions fighting each other to rule Libya.
The officially recognized government of Libya is limited around coastal Tripoli and Misrata, while most of the Libyan territory is occupied by the interim government led by military leader Khalifa Haftar. The internal civil war has been considerably expanded by the interference of external powers in Libya’s domestic affairs. Turkey and Qatar have supported the central government with Islamic fighters and military hardware, while the interim government has been endorsed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The countries on the opposing sides in Libya are also involved in diplomatic clashes and mass media wars. Last month Saudi Arabia announced that it was blocking access to Turkish news agencies and websites. In return, Turkey blocked Saudi and Emirati news outlets. Furthermore, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports the Muslim Brotherhood, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE are opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt and Turkey have been feuding ever since the pro-Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi, supported by Turkey, was toppled in 2013. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE have asked their citizens to boycott Turkish products and travel to Turkey.
These various regional and internal feuds have prompted the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Libyan interim government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on April 24, 2020. Here is the text of the announcement translated into English:
“We recall today the genocide of the Armenian population by Turkey which falls on April 24 of each year. The State of Libya commemorates this anniversary in implementation of Government Decision No. 238 of 2019, which approved this day as a national day to revive it.