France blasts ‘extremely aggressive’ Turkish intervention against NATO mission targeting Libyan arms,

France’s defence ministry on Wednesday denounced an ”extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish frigates against a French navy vessel participating in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean. Turkey, however, has denied the claims.

The French sailors were trying to check a cargo on suspicion it was taking arms to Libya – forbidden under a UN embargo. Turkish frigates carried out radar targeting three times, suggesting a missile strike was imminent, France’s defence ministry said.

”This is an extremely aggressive act that is unacceptable by an ally against a NATO ship,” a French defence ministry official, who did not want to be named, told AFP. […]

Turkey denied the claim that its navy harassed a French warship on a NATO mission, calling it ”completely untrue”. A senior Turkish military official told Reuters that the French warship did not establish communications with the Turkish ship during the incident. ”Turkey is fulfilling its obligations as an ally today as always,” the official said. ”It has saddened us that the matter has reached this stage.”[…]

Turkey supports the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli led by Fayez al-Sarraj. France, despite public denials, has long been suspected of favouring rebel commander Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) based in eastern Libya.

Turkish support has been critical to the GNA in staving off a 14-month-long assault on Tripoli by Haftar’s forces. That offensive came to an end earlier this month when the GNA managed to seize back all of western Libya. Läs artikel