By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's foreign minister on Thursday demanded an apology from France for misleading NATO and EU about recent tensions in the Mediterranean.
“France did not tell the truth to both NATO and EU. The claim that our ships locked is not true. We proved that and gave the documents to NATO. And NATO saw the reality,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu in a joint news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
“Our expectation from France is to apologize to us for not providing the true information,” he added.
France last week claimed that Turkey harassed one of its vessels taking part in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean. Turkish military officials denied the allegations.
Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey’s position on Libya, saying Ankara sides with the UN-recognized legitimate government of Libya.
The UN resolution states that the Sarraj government is the only legitimate party in Libya, he added.
“The only and the best solution to the Libyan conflict is political solution and permanent cease-fire,” said Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu said Turkey is ready for dialogue with France to facilitate a political solution and maintain stabilitiy in Libya.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said NATO officials were looking into the incident, adding: "Those two NATO allies have totally different views on what actually happened."
But everyone agrees "that we need to support the UN efforts to find a politically negotiated solution to the conflict in Libya," he added.
Ankara and Paris have recently been at odds due to their conflicting policies in Libya, which has been ravaged by a civil war since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
While Turkey supports Libya's legitimate UN-recognized government, Turkish officials accuse France of deepening the conflict by backing warlord Khalifa Haftar.
The internationally recognized government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital and recently retook strategic locations, including Al-Watiya airbase and the strategic city of Tarhuna.