France slams Turkey for targeting NATO ship on Libya, arms control mission

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France has denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by the Turks, the French frigates against a navy building participating in the NATO arms embargo mission around Libya in the Mediterranean.French sailors tried to verify a cargo ship on suspicion that it was taking up arms in Libya, which is prohibited under the UN embargo.

The French ship wanted to check if the Turkish ship Cirkin is smuggling weapons into Libya. In response, French political officials said the Cirkin had turned off its tracking system, masked its identification number, and refused to say where it was going.

We cannot accept that an ally behaves in this way, that it does so against a NATO ship, under NATO command, the accomplishment of a NATO mission

Official of the French Ministry of Defense

Next, Turkish frigates carried out targeting radar three times, suggesting a missile launch was imminent, the French Defense Ministry said.

“This is a very aggressive law which is unacceptable by an ally against a NATO ship,” said a ministry official who did not want to be identified.

“We consider this to be a very serious question … [and] we cannot accept that an ally behaves this way, that it does it against a NATO ship, under NATO command, the accomplishment of a NATO mission Said the official.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly later brought up the matter during a video conference with her NATO counterparts, her office.

But a senior Turkish military official said that France’s accusation was “completely false”.

An anonymous Turkish military official told Reuters that the French warship did not have to establish communication with the Turkish warship during the incident.

“Turkey is fulfilling its obligations as an ally today, as always,” said the official. “He saddened that the case had reached this stage. ”

Tensions between NATO members, France and Turkey have recently picked up on their role in the civil war in Libya.

Turkey supports UN recognized Syrian Tripoli government of militias, vast weapons and vehicle systems as well as trainers and military advisers, while France is said to favor rival Libyan National Army under Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Support of Turkey for the “offensive” of the recognized UN-Government of the National Agreement (GNA) which goes directly against efforts to obtain a cease-fire, a French ministry of foreign affairs -say said.

This week, Ankara condemned France’s criticism of its supplies of arms and combatants to the GNA, which from Paris, calls “a direct” violation of a United Nations embargo as “unacceptable”.

“These waves of boats between Turkey and Misurata, sometimes escorted by Turkish frigates, do not contribute to any de-escalation,” the official French ministry said on Wednesday.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday paid a surprise visit to Tripoli.

Libya’s oil-rich has been torn apart by years of violence, drawing in tribal militias, extremists and mercenaries since 2011 the overthrow and long-standing assassination of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a Western-backed uprising .

While Turkey is NATO’s second largest army, it has been increasingly stubborn in coordinating with the bloc.

In the latest charge, the three allies of diplomats and a French defense official said on Wednesday that Turkey continues to block NATO’s defense plans for Poland and the Baltic states, despite an agreement of London last year, between Turkey, the president and the leaders of the allied countries.

Diplomats said while Ankara approved the plan, known as the Eagle Defender, it did not allow NATO chiefs to put it into action.

“Turkey refuses to accept these plans unless we recognize the PYD / PKK as a terrorist entity,” they said, referring to the Syrian and Turkish Kurdish groups in Ankara as dangerous rebels. “We say no. We need to show solidarity for eastern allies and it is not acceptable to block these plans. “

Updated: June 18, 2020 11:56 AM



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