Turkey on Tuesday blasted France’s “destructive” approach to the conflict in Libya and accused it of seeking to increase Russian presence there.
It was the latest in a string of increasingly testy exchanges between the two NATO allies 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 Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.
Cavusoglu also said France was working against NATO and in favor of Russia in Libya. “On one side, NATO sees Russia as a threat but on the other side NATO ally France is working to increase Russia’s presence there,” he said.
Macron on Monday accused Turkey of “criminal responsibility” over its involvement in the Libyan conflict.
Oil-rich Libya was thrown into chaos after dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Rival administrations and militias have been vying for power ever since, increasingly drawing in foreign countries and threatening the region’s stability.
Tensions have been building over the last year between Macron and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, notably when the French leader said the lack of NATO response to a unilateral Turkish operation in northern Syria showed the alliance was undergoing “brain death.”
Some analysts suspect France is backing Haftar alongside Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, but Paris insists it is neutral in the conflict.