France ‘Won’t Tolerate’ Turkey’s Behavior in Libya, Macron Says
French President Emmanuel Macron says he “won’t tolerate” the role that Turkey is playing in Libya, calling it an obstacle to peace. Turkey has been supplying arms to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, which is fighting a rival administration headed by General Khalifa Haftar. At a news conference in Paris Monday with Tunisian President Kais Saied, Macron accused Turkey of ignoring a U.N. arms embargo against Libya and calls by the European Union for an end to all foreign intervention in Libya. “I already had the opportunity to clearly say it to (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan: I consider today that Turkey plays in Libya a dangerous game and is in breach of all commitments it took during the Berlin conference,” Macron said. Relations between France and Turkey have become increasingly tense since an encounter between French and Turkish warships in the eastern Mediterranean two weeks ago.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participates in a teleconference with European leaders, in Istanbul, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.France claims the Turkish ship flashed radar lights at a French vessel on a NATO mission to investigate whether the Turkish vessel was smuggling arms to Libya. France accused Turkish sailors of taking up light weapons. Turkey called the French charges baseless. Libya has been in turmoil since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011. The country is currently split between the government in Tripoli and Haftar’s eastern-based government, which is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. After more than a year of fierce fighting for control of the capital, which has been largely stalemated, the Tripoli-backed forces appear to have secured control of the city, observers say, but not before sending thousands of civilians fleeing for their lives from the fighting.