By Dr. Rene Tebel
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calls on the EU to examine its future relationship with Turkey "without taboos and without naivety." The background to his statement are rising tensions between Ankara and Paris over Turkey's involvement in Libya, which reached a peak so far in an incident on June 10th.
On that day, the French stealth frigate COURBET (F 712), part of the NATO naval mission Sea Guardian, wanted to inspect the Turkish cargo ship ÇIRKIS, in accordance with the UN arms embargo, for prohibited arms shipments to Libya. The crew of the freighter did not comply with their instruction to name the port of destination.
Instead, one of the two Turkish escorting warships- the frigate TCG GÖKOVA (F 496) - took the French warship three times into the naval targeting radar.
The daily Le Figaro quoted the French defence ministry that according to NATO's rules of engagement such action is considered a "hostile" act. Such behavior would be unprecedented among NATO partners. For this reason NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced on the previous Thursday that the alliance would pursue the French accusation.
Although Turkey denies the blame, Turkish warships had already prevented
an inspection of the same vessel by the Greek frigate HS SPETSAI (F 453)
on the same day. The Greek frigate of the EU mission IRINI was then
limited to follow the freighter.
This article was republished with the permission of Tebel Report
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.
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