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Turkey accused of exploiting Nato over Libya intervention

FRANCE has condemned Turkey’s “aggressive” intervention in Libya in support of the Tripoli-based government, which has included flooding the North African country with thousands of jihadists.

The statement by a French presidential official came a few days after protesters took to the streets of the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday to demand an end to Turkish interference.

Paris has been angered by an “even more aggressive and insistent stance from Turkey, with seven Turkish ships deployed off the Libyan coast and violations of the arms embargo,” according to the official, who did not wish to be named.

“The Turks are behaving in an unacceptable manner and are exploiting Nato. France cannot just stand by,” he said.

The warning came after Turkey blocked a European Union naval mission from investigating a ship suspected of breaching the United Nations arms embargo on Wednesday in waters off the Libyan coast.

This latest war of words between the two nations follows a spat last autumn in which French President Emmanuel Macron lambasted Ankara for its invasion and occupation of largely Kurdish areas in northern Syria.

But France has itself been accused of breaching the arms embargo and is believed to support the Libyan National Army (LNA) headed by General Khalifa Hiftar.

Last year, Paris was forced to deny that it had suppled four French-bought Javelin missiles that had been found in an abandoned LNA camp. It admitted having owned the weapons, but insisted that they had been lost by its operatives.

Friday’s demonstrators in Benghazi demanded an end to Turkish meddling in Libya through “criminals, murders, militias and dark groups,” accusing Ankara of trying to secure access to lucrative oil fields off the Libyan coast.

Turkey is believed to have transferred thousands of jihadist fighters from the battlefields of Syria to Libya, which has helped the Western-backed Government of National Accord retake control of strategic areas around Tripoli.

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