Turkey rebukes French leader for remarks on Libya

France heightening tension in Eastern Mediterranean by ignoring Turkey's legitimate rights, says Turkish Foreign Ministry

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak and Iclal Turan   | 23.06.2020
Turkey rebukes French leader for remarks on Libya


Turkey on Tuesday slammed the president of France for recent comments on Turkey's support for the internationally recognized Libyan government.

In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Emmanuel Macron calling Turkey's support for the internationally recognized government of Libya a "dangerous game" could only be explained as an "abdication of reason."

By ignoring Turkey's legitimate rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and supporting "maximalist" ambitions, France only heightens the tension in the region instead of promoting peace and stability, he added.

Accusing Paris of being complicit in the chaos in Libya, Aksoy said it not Turkey, but France that was playing a "dangerous game."

He urged France and Macron to stop risking the security and future of Libya, Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean and instead use existing channels of dialogue.

After a meeting with Tunisian President Kais Saied in Paris, Macron late on Monday criticized Ankara for its support for the Libyan government against renegade general Khalifa Haftar, backed by France, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar's forces.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority as Tripoli battles Haftar's militias.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter Haftar's attacks on the capital Tripoli, and recently liberated strategic locations, including Tarhuna, Haftar's final stronghold in western Libya.

Since last year, several high-level meetings, known as Berlin peace process, were held in the German capital to put an end to conflict in Libya, with the participation of world powers and regional actors.

The EU had deemed this UN-backed negotiation process the only acceptable way forward as it was based on peaceful and multilateral talks.

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