On June 22nd, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of “playing a dangerous game” in Libya and said that France would not tolerate Ankara’s military intervention.
— Tunisian Presidency – الرئاسة التونسية (@TnPresidency) June 22, 2020
“I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President (Tayyip) Erdogan, I consider that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya today and going against all of its commitments made at the Berlin conference,” Macron said alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied.
— The Libyan Address Journal (@LibyanAddressJo) June 22, 2020
“We won’t tolerate the role that Turkey is playing in Libya,” he said.
The Tunisian president said that the current authority in Tripoli was temporary and that it needed to be replaced by a legitimate one, stemming from the people.
الرئيس التونسي: السلطة الحالية في طرابلس مؤقتة ويجب أن تحل مكانها شرعية جديدة نابعة من إرادة الشعب
— سكاي نيوز عربية-عاجل (@SkyNewsArabia_B) June 22, 2020
Macron also spoke with US President Donald Trump, and condemned the alleged activities of Russian mercenaries in Libya, but mostly focused on Turkey.
The alleged Russian mercenaries are reportedly supporting Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) against Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA).
When asked about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggesting he had a right to intervene in Libya, Macron said the Egyptian leader had reason to be worried.
“You noted the legitimate concern of President Sisi when he sees troops arriving at his border,” Macron said.
Turkish-backed forces are not operating near Egypt’s border, that could change if Turkey and the GNA begin pushing towards Sirte and even further east towards Benghazi.
“This is a Mediterranean subject that affects us because today from Libya each day men and women are fleeing misery to come to Europe. Do you think we can let Turkey for a long time import Syrian fighters to Libya given everything we know?”
#واشنطن — البيت الأبيض: ماكرون وترمب اتفقا على ضرورة التوصل لوقف للنار في ليبيا
— ا لـ حـ ـد ث (@AlHadath) June 22, 2020
Everything Macro is saying in regard to Turkey is a direct result from an incident involving Turkish and French warships in the Mediterranean.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that on June 10th Turkish warships flashed their radar lights three times at the French warship Courbet in the eastern Mediterranean.
She said the Courbet was on a NATO mission to check whether a Turkish vessel, the Cirkin, was smuggling arms to Libya after it turned off its transponder, failed to identify itself and did not give its final destination.
She added that Turkish sailors had also put on bullet-proof vests and stood behind their light weapons during the incident.
“There cannot be any complacency with regard to such behaviour. This particularly serious incident must be dealt with and our allies share our concerns because eight European allies gave me clear support today in NATO,” Parly said.
Turkish military officials rejected the French accusations as baseless, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
“The Turkish armed forces has the experience to tell the difference between hazardous moves, harassment, friendly activities, cooperation, solidarity, and coordination,” an anonymous senior Turkish official said.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance will investigate French accusations that Turkey’s navy failed to respond to an allied call for inspection this month in the Mediterranean.
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