Turkey’s ambassador to ParisÂ accusedÂ FranceÂ of having a biased policy overÂ Libya, turning a blind eye to suspected violations of a U.N. arms embargo by theÂ United Arab EmiratesÂ andÂ EgyptÂ to the benefit of the eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar.
TurkeyÂ has intervened decisively in recent weeks inÂ Libya, providing air support, weapons, and allied fighters fromÂ SyriaÂ to help the internationally recognized government based inÂ TripoliÂ repel a year-long assault by Haftar, who is backed by the UAE,Â Egypt, and Russia.
“When one supports the legitimate government we’re accused of playing a dangerous game but when some countries likeÂ EgyptÂ and the UAE support Haftar, then they are deemed legitimate and it’s not dangerous. I’d call that biased, no?,” envoy Ismail Hakki Musa told a hearing of French senators.
The United Nations has previously named theÂ United Arab Emirates,Â Egypt, andÂ TurkeyÂ for breaching the embargo.
A joint statement issued in February by 13 countries involved inÂ Libya, includedÂ Egypt, UAE, andÂ Turkey, said there had been a discussion on the “deplorable” arms embargo violations and “renewed determination to contribute to its thorough implementation”.
Ties betweenÂ NATOÂ alliesÂ FranceÂ andÂ TurkeyÂ have soured in recent weeks overÂ Libya, as well as the conflict in northernÂ SyriaÂ and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.
The animosity was aggravated in June after an incident between Turkish and French warships over an attempt to inspect a vessel that was suspected of smuggling weapons to Libya.
TurkeyÂ accusesÂ ParisÂ of supporting Haftar politically, having previously given him military assistance to fight Islamist militants. It denies this.
PresidentÂ Emmanuel MacronÂ this week saidÂ TurkeyÂ had a “criminal responsibility” in the country.
When asked about the Turkish comments, a French official saidÂ ParisÂ had never been ambiguous in condemning all arms violations but said that Turkey’s intervention and attitude towardsÂ NATOÂ allies created a specific threat toÂ FranceÂ and Europe’s interests, unlike the UAE.
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