The Conflict in Libya Fuels Tensions between Turkey and France

Has Turkey become a NATO burden?

Turkey, a NATO Member, has become a burden for NATO due to its aggressive practices and violations of international law in addition to stirring disputes and divisions within the security bloc, facing major security challenges, while not in need of any side problems.

Turkey’s tone has become more intense and arrogant, as it believes that the NATO would collapse without it.

Recently, an immense dispute has arisen between Turkey and France, against the backdrop of Turkey’s military intervention in Libya.

The dispute is likely to exacerbate in the coming days, as France is convinced that the EU leniency with Turkey will affect the EU interests and lead Turkey to commit more aggressive practices on more than one front.

Since the NATO is not responding to Turkish provocations and violations, the French Ministry of Armed Forces announced that it has suspended its participation in NATO’s Mediterranean mission Sea Guardian. In a phone press conference, amid high tensions between Paris and Ankara, the ministry said that it will withdraw its units temporarily from the operation and it will wait for correcting the situation. Paris had accused Turkey of targeting one of its frigates while checking ships suspected of violating the arms embargo imposed on Libya.

Curbing Turkish Violations

“It does not seem to us healthy to maintain our assets in an operation supposed, among its various tasks, to control an embargo alongside allies who do not respect it,” an official from France’s armed forces ministry said, referring to Ankara in particular.

France requires the fulfillment of four demands, including that the allies solemnly reaffirm their attachment and their commitment to the respect of the embargo. It also requires a more precise mechanism to resolve disputes within NATO.

French President Emanuel Macron is leading intensive efforts to curb Turkish violations in Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has provoked both Cyprus and Greece by carrying out oil and gas exploration in the sea by ignoring European objections, as well as Egypt and Israel’s rejection for those operations since they challenge their interests in the region that contains huge oil and gas reserves.

France has accused Turkey of harassing a French frigate during checking a vessel suspected of violating the arms embargo in Libya. Ankara has denied the accusations, which prompted France to say that this is a new evidence of NATO’s “brain death.”

“The imperialism of the Turkish president creates tension and is often a provocation,” said French Senator Jean-Marie Bokel, a member of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. “All I hope for is that Turkey’s NATO-membership will not be jeopardized by what is happening now,” he added.

Obstructing EU’s efforts

It’s noteworthy that tensions between Ankara and Paris have escalated during the past few days. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned Turkey’s increased military support for the Libyan GNA, which is considered as a direct violation of the UN embargo.

Earlier, Paris has strengthened its position against the Turkish intervention in Libya, describing it as “unacceptable”, and asserting that “France cannot allow this,” according to the Elysée.

On the other hand, Turkey has strongly rejected the criticism, accusing Paris of “obstructing peace” by supporting the opposing side, in reference to the Libyan army.

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