Alwaght- Turkish foreign blamed French President over meddling in foreign-backed conflicts in Libya and Syria as well as Ankara’s dispute with Greece over sea boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean, calling Emmanuel Macron "hysterical”.
Speaking during a press briefing in capital Ankara on Friday, Mevlut Cavusoglu emphasized that Turkey had foiled French hope for renegade military strongman Khalifa Haftar to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli by providing military support to the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), repelling Haftar’s assault back in June.
“In Libya they (France) supported the putschist Haftar and made a grave mistake,” he said, adding, “Things changed, balances shifted, Haftar was defeated and Macron became hysterical.”
Ankara has blamed Paris for politically backing Haftar and his rebel forces known as Libyan National Army (LNA) against the Tripoli-based GNA, having previously given him military assistance to fight pro-government forces. Paris, however, denies this.
In June, Turkey and France nearly came to blows after a French warship attempted to inspect a Turkish vessel as part of a UN arms embargo against Libya.
“With that hysteria, he didn’t know what to do. Right after that, he said our ships had harassed their ships in the eastern Mediterranean but couldn’t document this and was humiliated,” the Turkish minister said.
Cavusoglu also reiterated Ankara’s position that France was the country provoking Greece the most in the eastern Mediterranean conflict, calling on Paris to cooperate with Turkey to accomplish regional stability.
He then stated mockingly, “There is no need for such hysterical behavior from France, it makes them look laughable. We are two NATO member countries.”
Meanwhile, there was no immediate reaction to Cavusoglu’s harsh criticism of Paris by Macron’s Elysee office or the French foreign ministry.
France has also backed Athens in the east Mediterranean maritime dispute, taking part in joint war games with Italy, Greece and Cyprus amid conflicting Greek-Turkish claims to continental shelves in areas of exploration for oil and natural gas.
During his Friday remarks, Turkey’s top diplomat also accused Greece of shunning dialog and lying after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis denied it had agreed to NATO-brokered talks aimed at de-escalating tensions in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Let threats go away so that the contacts can begin,” Mitsotakis said earlier on Friday, prompting Cavusoglu to accuse him of “lying,” saying, “Greece denied the secretary general’s (remarks) but the one lying here is not the NATO secretary general, it’s Greece itself. Greece showed once more than it's not in favor of dialog.”
Ties between the two NATO allies have also deteriorated over conflicting policies in Syria, Libya, and they have exchanged accusations in recent weeks. Both countries are known to have backed and supplied militants waging terror in the war-ravaged Arab nations.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week lashed at the leaders of France and Greece.
Speaking at a ceremony commemorating Victory Day on Sunday, Erdogan called the leaders of the two European Union countries “greedy and incompetent” for challenging Ankara’s energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. The occasion marked the defeat of the Greek army by the Turks in the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922.
“Do Greeks accept what could happen to them because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?” asked Erdogan. “Do the French know the price they will pay because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?”