France slammed on Sunday Turkey’s “aggressive” intervention in war-torn Libya as unacceptable, accusing Ankara of violating a U.N. arms embargo and sending half a dozen ships to the coast of the North African country.
A senior presidential official said France was angered by an “even more aggressive and insistent stance from Turkey, with seven Turkish ships deployed off the Libyan coast and violations of the arms embargo,” London based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
France will not stand by as Turks continue to behave “in an unacceptable manner and are exploiting NATO,’’ the official said.
Ankara backs the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and has intensified its support this year. Turkey has sent fighters, military advisers and drones to bolster the military power of the GNA, which has been fighting to stave off an offensive to seize the country’s capital by the French-backed Libyan National Army.
The French official said President Emmanuel Macron had already held talks on the issue this week with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, and “exchanges will take place in the weeks to come on this subject with NATO partners.”
On Wednesday, a Turkish warship prevented the EU’s new naval mission enforcing the Libya arms embargo from checking a suspect freighter off the war-torn country’s coast.
Russia and Turkey, who back opposite sides in Libya, were scheduled to hold ministerial-level talks on Sunday, but the visit by a Russian delegation was postponed to later date.
The talks were expected to focus on Libya and Syria, where Ankara and Moscow back opposing sides.