Turkey blames France for Libya instability, but violates Berlin promises

French President accuses Turkish counterpart of failing to keep his word by sending Turkish ships accompanying Syrian mercenaries to Libya.

Macron dismisses maritime deal between Turkey and Sarraj's government

ANKARA - Turkey blamed France on Wednesday for Libya's instability, after French President Emmanuel Macron accused his Turkish counterpart of failing "to keep his word" to end meddling in the north African country.

"The main (actor) responsible for the problems in Libya since the crisis started in 2011 is France," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

"It's no secret that this country has given unconditional support to (military strongman Khalifa) Haftar in order to have a say regarding natural resources in Libya," he added.

Macron claimed earlier on Wednesday at a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that Turkish ships accompanying Syrian mercenaries arrived on Libyan territory in recent days.

The French leader said the action was a "clear violation" of what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised at the Berlin conference on January 19 where world leaders vowed to stay out of the Libyan conflict.

"It is a failure to keep his word," Macron said.

Turkey supports the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli against Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya.

The strongman launched an assault in April 2019 to seize Tripoli, and has the support of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, countries with whom Turkey's relations are tense.

Macron dismissed a maritime deal between Turkey and Sarraj's government last year that would give Turkey and Libya access to an economic zone despite the objections of Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically.

“France supports Greece and Cyprus with regards to the sovereignty in their maritime zones and, along with our European partners, condemns Turkey's intrusions and provocations,” Macron said.

“I must reiterate that the prerequisite for any political solution in Libya is the cancellation of this document,” he added.

Ties between Paris and Ankara are increasingly strained over multiple issues including Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

When Macron declared NATO "brain dead" last year, Erdogan said the French leader was "in a state of brain death".