Turkish top diplomat slams France's destructive approach to Libya conflict
Speaking during a press conference in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stressed in his remarks: "France has been in Libya only for its own interests and ambitions with a destructive approach just like it pushed Africa to instability in the past with a colonialist approach, and like it bombed and quit Libya in 2011."
Turkey on Tuesday blasted France's "destructive" approach to the conflict in Libya and accused it of seeking to increase Russian presence there, in escalating tension between the two NATO allies.
It was the latest in a string of increasingly testy exchanges between the two countries over the issue.
"France, which Macron governs or rather which he can't manage to govern at the moment, has been in Libya only for its own interests and ambitions with a destructive approach just like it pushed Africa to instability in the past with a colonialist approach, and like it bombed and quit Libya in 2011," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in the capital Ankara.
"NATO sees Russia as a threat on the hand, but NATO-ally France is trying to increase Russia's presence in Libya on the other," Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said during a joint news conference with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto.
"Even though we [Turkey] appear to be on opposite sides with Russia, we are working not to worsen the situation, but to achieve a cease-fire," Çavuşoğlu added.
Çavuşoğlu went on to say that France supported "a putschist, a pirate, Khalifa Khaftar" in opposition to UN Security Council decisions, referring to the eastern-Libya-based renegade general.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar's forces.
The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar's militias since April 2019, a conflict that has taken over 1,000 lives.
Under a military pact with Libya signed last November, Turkey sent military advisers to assist in the battle against Haftar's forces.
After the discovery of mass graves in areas left behind by retreating Haftar militias, the UN and international jurists have expressed concern over possible war crimes.
Haftar has been supported internationally by Russia, France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.