France’s attitude ignoring Turkey’s legitimate rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and supporting maximalist ambitions hampers peace and stability while raising tensions in the region, the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated Tuesday.
The ministry further urged French President Emmanuel Macron in a written statement to end steps risking the security and future of Libya, Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean, and instead to use established dialogue channels.
“France, which has no coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, has to understand that acting like a coastal country does not give it the right to decide on regional issues. Unfortunately, it has been obvious for a long time that France cannot and does not want to evaluate the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean healthily and objectively,” it said.
“French President Emmanuel Macron calling Turkey’s support for the legitimate government in Libya a ‘dangerous game’ can only be explained with the abdication of reason,” the statement of the ministry added.
It highlighted that France has significant responsibility for Libya's drift into chaos, playing the actual "dangerous game" in Libya while it said that Paris’ silence in the face of putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar backer Egypt’s threat to intervene in Libya is also a fact to be noted.
Commenting on Macron’s statements regarding Turkey and Libya, spokesman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Ömer Çelik criticized the French leader’s stance and said “France is in a position of a supporter of policies promoting instability in Libya and the Mediterranean.”
“The Libyan people will decide on Libya’s future, not France,” Çelik added, “Macron’s politics is a backing of putschists who try to steal the legitimate will and future of the Libyan people. It can be clearly seen that those making alleged statements against our president and those that are disturbed by Turkey’s support for Libya are after a new colonialism.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry's statement comes after Macron on Monday accused NATO member Turkey of playing a "dangerous game" with regard to Libya which could threaten the whole region.
Tensions have risen over the last year between Paris and Ankara, notably when the French leader said the lack of NATO response to a Turkish anti-terror operation in northern Syria showed the alliance was undergoing "brain death."
The Ankara-Paris strains soared further last week when France denounced an "extremely aggressive" intervention by Turkish ships against a French Navy vessel participating in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean, a claim Ankara dismissed as "groundless." Macron described this as proof of his concern for NATO.