Turkey demands apology from France after incident in Mediterranean

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TURKEY on Thursday accused France of spreading fake news about an incident between the two countries in the Mediterranean, as Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu demanded an apology from Paris.

France had made false claims to the European Union and to NATO, Cavusoglu said in Berlin, following talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“France must apologise to us,” Turkey’s top diplomat said.

France has claimed that a Turkish naval vessel turned its fire guidance radar onto a French ship that was trying to stop a cargo vessel suspected of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya.

France has repeatedly condemned Turkish support for Libya’s weak yet internationally recognised government, whose forces recently beat off an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, by rival military strongman Khalifa Haftar, based in the war-torn country’s east.

“We provide the Tripoli government with consultancy as part of a military cooperation agreement,” Cavusoglu said in Berlin.

He decried the “contradiction” that France and the United Arab Emirates were not subjected to the same scrutiny under the arms embargo and stressed that Hafter had “no legitimacy in Libya.’’

Report says Paris fiercely denies claims that it is backing Haftar, who is supported by Russia, Egypt and the UAE, though some analysts argue France too has given him at least diplomatic backing.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said that the defence alliance will investigate the incident in the Mediterranean, which occurred on June 10.

The French frigate had been operating as part of NATO’s Sea Guardian mission.

NAN

– July 02, 2020 @ 14:55 GMT

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