France’s president has accused Turkey of importing large numbers of fighters into Libya, labelling Ankara’s intervention “criminal”.
Emmanuel Macron also lambasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambivalence towards his country’s mercen
“I think it is a historic and criminal responsibility for a country which claims to be a NATO member,” Macron said on Monday of Turkey’s role in Libya.
Without providing any evidence on the nature of the fighters, he said Turkey was “massively importing” them from Syria.
“Due to the support it has given to illegitimate structures for years, France has an important responsibility in dragging Libya into chaos,” foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.
“The people of Libya will never forget the damage France has inflicted on this country.”
Macron denied backing Haftar’s east-based forces, saying France is in favour of finding a “political solution”.
Ties between NATO allies France and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over Libya, northern Syria, and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions escalated following a June 10 incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, which France considers a hostile act under NATO’s rules of engagement.
Turkey has denied harassing the French frigate.
Paris has been accused of supporting Haftar politically, having previously given him military assistance.
France has long denied backing Haftar but has stopped short of rebuking his allies, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has also been singled out by the United Nations for violating an arms embargo in Libya.
aries operating in the oil-rich North African state.
Turkey has recently intervened decisively in Libya, providing air support, weapons, and allied fighters from Syria to help the internationally recognised government based in Tripoli repel a 14-month assault by renegade eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.