[…] In recent months, key members of the NATO alliance have been involved in an increasingly sharp war of words with each other over their role in the Libyan civil war. Their hardly concealed backing for different sides there has split France and Greece on the one hand from Turkey and Italy on the other.
Turkey’s President Erdogan is mercurial and bombastic at the best of times, but the French President has not let his own rhetoric fall below the bar set in Ankara. Macron warned Erdogan, “I consider Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya”, adding France “won’t tolerate the role that Turkey is playing.”
These harsh words followed a standoff at sea between French warships enforcing both a UN and EU arms embargo on Libya and Turkish vessels escorting a merchant ship conveying weapons to Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognised government. The fact that the Turkish naval vessels locked their weapons-guidance radars on the French navy’s Courbet to deter it from stopping the cargo ship was the closest that two NATO members have come to blows in decades – if we except fairly routine buzzing of each other by Greek and Turkish airplanes in the Aegean.
The Atlantic Alliance was on the brink of going to war with itself, or at least several members were. Läs artikel