France Suspends Role In NATO Naval Mission Over Row With Turkey

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Turkey’s Ambassador to France has stated that Paris informed NATO that it was suspending its participation in a naval operation in the Mediterranean.

This follows what Paris has described as aggressive behaviour by Turkey towards France’s Courbet warship.

Ties between NATO members France and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over Libya, northern Syria, and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

France accused Turkey’s warships of being aggressive after it attempted to inspect a Turkish ship in June that was believed to be violating the UN arms embargo on Libya.

NATO opened an investigation after France protested during a meeting in June.

“It seems that NATO experts did not reach the same conclusion. I had the information yesterday; it seems that the Courbet is withdrawing from this NATO exercise,” envoy Ismail Hakki
Musa told a hearing in the French Senate.

Musa denied France’s allegations and informed the members of the Senate that the French warship had been the one that was aggressive.

French newspaper ‘L’Opinion’ reported that France had sent a letter to NATO informing the alliance of its decision to suspend its role in operation ‘Sea Guardian’.

The French Defence Ministry, Foreign
Ministry, and Allied Maritime Command, which heads the ‘Sea Guardian’ operation, did not respond to requests for comment.

The French government has reported that on 10 June Turkish warships flashed their radar lights three times at the Courbet.

It claimed that Turkish sailors had also put on bullet-proof vests and stood behind their light weapons during the incident.