High tension between Paris and Ankara, France withdraws from a NATO-born operation in the Mediterranean


The Mediterranean is increasingly becoming a sea of ​​tension, perhaps the unexpected battleground in the near future. Where the ever stronger presence of Turkey, with ships ready to line up in different marine areas, creates divisions and risks ending up in a situation of chaos. France, the country currently on a major collision course with Ankara, has now even decided to withdraw from a NATO security operation, until it obtains answers to the “requests” relating to its frictions with Turkey.”We have decided to temporarily leave our resources – announces the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Paris – from the Sea Guardian operation”. And it is Libya, a country in which the Turkish military is defending Tripoli from the assault by rebel soldiers from Cyrenaica, the reason that sees Ankara and Paris on opposite sides.


Libya, Macron attacks Turkey: “Yours is a dangerous game”

Last June France reported that one of its military ships, belonging to the Sea Guardian operation, had been subjected to three ‘radar illuminations’ – considered a serious warning, according to maritime codes – by Turkish vessels, while trying to stop a freighter suspected of violating the arms embargo on Libya, where Ankara militarily defends the government of Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj. Turkey rejected any accusations, speaking of “misunderstandings”. Paris, however, was not satisfied and turned to NATO, defining the episode as an “act of aggression”. However, few allies have sided with the French, and only 8 out of 30 countries have supported them. The Atlantic Alliance has thus launched an internal investigation into the accident, which however has not led to further results. So France decided the tear, stating that “it does not seem healthy” to continue participating in a military operation with allies “who do not respect the embargo”. The tension between Paris and Ankara spreads to other fronts, and now even a case of espionage involves the secret services of the DGSE and those of the MIT for a affaire to be clarified in the French consulate in Istanbul.The real issue revolves around very concrete economic affairs in Libya: France, which for some time has focused on the facts about the Cyrenaic general Haftar who has now withdrawn from the siege of Tripoli after the use of the deadly Turkish drones, can no longer count on commercial contracts expected. Instead, they go to the proceeds of Ankara, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is cleverly playing a risky game, but who currently sees him as the real winner and the only interlocutor in the area with the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin. For Turkey, it is a substantial revenge towards Paris, when the bombings wanted by the then President Nicolas Sarkozy against Muammar Gaddafi caused the Turkish gold contracts and fruitful prospections to vanish. Which now reappear in a doubled form, due to the close agreements with Tripoli on a very wide arm of the sea.

The number one of the Turkish Navy, Admiral Adnan Ozbal, has in fact slung into the Libyan capital to meet the leaders of the government led by al Serraj. The Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of 2019 between Libya and Turkey to divide the large water areas in the Mediterranean, in front of the coast of Tripoli, is able to ensure formidable revenues and an enviable strategic presence in Ankara. Erdogan has not been watching during this time. And he managed to reach positions that had escaped many other actors, including Italy, indeed perhaps most of all.


Libya, close accident between EU mission and Turkish ships

But Turkey’s Libyan game is larger. Because not only France, but also Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and United Arab Emirates have been opposing against the naval maneuvers of its Navy. The Turkish state broadcaster, Trt, now announces that it has come into possession of confidential documents that reveal the pressure exerted by the United Arab Emirates to request the intervention of the United States in the conflict in Libya, and to contain the progress achieved by the Tripoli government, the only one recognized by the United Nations. An email reveals, for example, that the Emirate’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al Otaiba, sent a letter to American leaders on June 22 with these phrases: “Unless Turkey’s actions are kept under control, the situation could Turkey continues to push and launch provocations near Sirte and has deployed Navy ships off the coast. According to our analysis, this decision was made deliberately to thwart Egypt’s entry into the conflict. ” According to the Emirati diplomat, a direct clash between Turkey and Egypt could result: “If anyone thinks the situation is chaotic now, it will be a hundred times worse”. In the turbulent Middle Eastern region, accustomed to decades of wars, he is no longer the only one to think so.

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