NATO opens investigation of incident between France and Turkey in the Mediterranean

NATO Secretary-General has announced that an investigation into the incident that France condemned with Turkish vessels began during an operation to control the UN embargo on arms deliveries to Libya.

NATO will launch an investigation into France’s allegations of an alleged incident involving the Turkish navy in the Mediterranean, its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Thursday, June 18, after a meeting of Allied Defense Ministers.

“This incident in the Mediterranean was discussed at the meeting of several allies. My message is that we have made sure that the NATO military authorities are investigating this incident to clarify what happened,” he said at a press conference.

France claims that the Turkish navy engaged in “hostile and unacceptable behavior … aimed at hampering efforts to implement the UN arms embargo”.

“An extremely aggressive act”

When he disclosed details of this incident during his hearing on Thursday before a parliamentary committee, Floris Parly, Minister of Defense, said it had occurred on June 10 last year in the Eastern Mediterranean where a French frigate, Courbet, was controlling as part of a NATO commands a Turkish boat, Cirkin, to make sure it did not carry weapons to Libya.

The Turkish boat had canceled its transponder and refused to identify and communicate its destination port. Turkish naval vessels “then lit” the French frigate three times “with their fire control radars,” the minister continued.

“In addition, (Turkish) personnel were in short-proof vests and heavy helmets in search of these ships’ light weapons. It is an extremely aggressive act and cannot be an ally to another ally who does his job under NATO command,” she said. “There cannot be the slightest complacency with this type of behavior,” she added, adding that eight European allies had given her “clear support.”

France has repeatedly accused Ankara of violating the UN arms embargo on Libya. Turkey rejected the “unfounded” allegations on Thursday and a senior Turkish military official requesting anonymity accused the French ship of carrying out a “swift and dangerous maneuver”.

Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the need to respect the embargo. “NATO supports the implementation of the UN’s decision to impose an arms embargo on Libya. We support the UN’s efforts to find a solution to the conflict,” he said. .

NATO member Turkey militarily supports the Libyan Union Government (GNA) in Fayez al-Sarraj, recognized by the United Nations, against the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in particular supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

With AFP and Reuters