Turkey, France At Odds On Libya

By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL – Turkey and France are in a war of words about Libya with both sides accusing the other of not adhering to the January 19 Berlin Summit agreement.

On Wednesday, Turkey responded in a formal statement to comments French President Emmanuel Macron made to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about Turkey not adhering to the Berlin Summit agreement.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy stated: “If France wants to contribute to the implementation of decisions taken at the [Berlin] conference, it should first stop supporting Haftar.” Aksoy added that Haftar’s attacks are a threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Libya.

Macron told the Greek prime minister that Turkish warships and Syrian mercenaries were seen arriving in Libya. Meanwhile, Erdogan reminded Macron by saying: “The main [actor] responsible for the problems in Libya since the crisis started in 2011 is France.”

Further commenting, Macron said Turkey’s action is a “clear violation” of Erdogan’s promise at the Berlin summit. At the summit, world leaders signed a 55-page communique that included commitments to respect and abide by a UN arms embargo and called on nations not to engage in ‘foreign interference.’

In response to Macron’s remarks, Erdogan said: “It’s no secret that this country has given unconditional support to Haftar in order to have a say regarding natural resources in Libya.” Haftar controls the oil fields and recently imposed a block on scheduled oil exports from Libya by ordering it’s ports to shut down. 

At the January 19 Berlin Summit hosted By German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both called for the strictest adherence to the arms embargo which has already been violated.  The two leaders also called for a permanent ceasefire not simply a conditional truce.

Since the summit, Haftar, who claimed to support a ceasefire – violated it one day after the summit and according to news reports – already invited his backers the UAE,  Egypt, France, Jordan and Russia’s Wagner Group to deliver additional weaponry.

Haftar’s attacks are responsible for the death and injuries of at least 6,000 civilians in Libya. Libyans took to the streets in protest of Haftar a month ago praising support from Turkey for Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) while denouncing Haftar.

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