Why France is wary of Turkey in Libya, responsiblestatecraft.org

Dr. Ali Demirdas, former Fulbright scholar

The ever-rising tension between NATO allies Turkey and France reached a new height when Paris claimed that off the coast of Libya last month, Turkish frigates targeted a French navy vessel with their radar, the last step before the actual firing of the missile, as it was seeking to inspect a cargo ship suspected of carrying weapons to Libya. […]

So, why is France wary of Turkey in Libya? Simply put, Ankara’s geopolitical ascendance in the Middle East in general and its emergence as “a kingmaker” in Libya, in particular, has the serious potential ability to spoil France’s economic and geopolitical interests in Africa. […]

However, for France, things are not going well in West Africa. The body count is mounting in France’s Operation Barkhane, the military campaign in the Sahel/West Africa, where Paris sent an estimated 4,500 military personnel with the proclaimed goal of eliminating extremism. Since 2013, at least 44 French soldiers have been killed. Most recently, in Mali, two French helicopters collided in mid-air, leaving thirteen soldiers dead, with militants on the ground claiming they shot them down.

It was France’s highest military death toll since 1983 when 58 paratroopers were killed in a truck bombing in Lebanon. The soaring French death toll in Africa also gives the impression that Macron is getting bogged down in his own “endless wars.” Even worse, the anti-French sentiment has grown considerably among the people of G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) as France has failed to prevent the loss of thousands of civilians to terror attacks. Frustrated, Macron sent the G5 leaders invitations (some argued he summoned them) to discuss the rising anti-French sentiment. Ironically, the meeting, which was slated for early 2020, was canceled after 71 Nigerien soldiers were killed by terrorists in a brazen attack on a military camp located near Niger’s border with Mali. France’s misfortunes in the region have also compelled Macron to ask President Trump not to draw down American forces in Africa. Läs artikel