France has no right to comment on Turkey’s military presence in Libya, which is part of Ankara’s deal with the legitimate Libyan government, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday.
In a strong rebuke to Emmanuel Macron, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the French president’s recent call for withdrawal of Turkish and Russian troops from Libya was “disrespectful to the sovereignty of Turkey and Libya.”
“We have an agreement with the legitimate government of Libya. France has no right to speak on this matter,” he told reporters in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Such matters can only be discussed by the sovereign states that are parties to an agreement, he added.
“France has an old habit of commenting on what others are doing. For Turkey, France or any other country holds no relevance in this matter; we only speak to Libya,” said Cavusoglu.
Turkey stands with Azerbaijan against Armenia’s ‘terror attacks’
Cavusoglu reaffirmed Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia, condemning Armenia’s recent “terror attacks” on Azerbaijani territories.
“Azerbaijan is not and will never be alone,” the Turkish foreign minister said at a joint news conference in Ankara with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.
He was responding to a question about an Armenian attack that killed 10 Azerbaijani soldiers and wounded seven others earlier this week.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also accused Armenian forces of carrying out “large-scale provocations” in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions.
Cavusoglu called on Armenia to realize that such provocations “are futile and will amount to nothing.”
He criticized Armenia for pursuing an antagonistic policy at a time when Baku and Ankara are keen to work for the region’s stability and development.
“We would like to turn a new page and normalize our relations (with Armenia), but look at what Armenia continues to do despite our overtures,” he said.
Relations with Bahrain
On Turkey’s ties with Bahrain, Cavusoglu said the two countries have shown “a common will to re-energize and revitalize their relations.”
He said talks with the Bahraini foreign minister and his delegation were “fruitful,” with the two sides agreeing on the need for more regular engagement and bilateral visits.
Turkey and Bahrain will keep channels of dialogue open for all matters, according to Cavusoglu.
Al Zayani also spoke about the “good relations between the two friendly countries,” saying Bahrain’s ruler sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledging their nations’ “strong friendship.”
He said regional developments and their potential impact on Turkey and Bahrain, as well as possible solutions, were discussed during his meetings in Ankara.
Turkey and Bahrain are eager to enhance bilateral cooperation in all sectors, he added.
On the issue of visas for Turkish citizens, Al Zayani said Bahrain has been working to improve its current mechanism and would ensure that “our brothers in Turkey are given priority in the new system.”
The Bahraini foreign minister also shared details of the virtual Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) ministerial meeting that he attended along with Cavusoglu earlier on Wednesday.
He said the participants “reiterated the importance of the ACD forum in increasing cooperation between all Asian countries and enhancing efforts to achieve their joint aims and objectives.”
The meeting saw the group’s chairmanship, held by Turkey since September 2019, handed over to Bahrain.
The ACD also declared central Nevsehir province – the gateway to Turkey’s picturesque Cappadocia region – its tourism capital for 2022, the year which marks the group’s 20th anniversary.