Turkey / Libya crisis?

And what are NATO going to do about it? The fact that a Greek and now French naval vessel have essentially been chased away with no repercussions doesn't exactly send a strong message does it.
It's NATO 'internal' politics - politely worded message to follow, stressing the solidarity of the Alliance.
 
It's NATO 'internal' politics - politely worded message to follow, stressing the solidarity of the Alliance.
So it's going to be the good old 'strongly worded letter' as a deterrent, and maybe a bit of tutting if they do it again
 
Macron not being backward, but could isolate himself in NATO. Italy is siding with Turkey (the Italians were against NATO intervention in 2011 as leading to bad things; how right they were) and ze Germans didn't participate in 2011 at all. It will be doubtless all be the communique from last week's NATO DefMin's , not.

'France will not tolerate Turkey’s military intervention in Libya, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, accusing Ankara of playing “a dangerous game”.

'Turkey has intervened decisively in recent weeks in Libya, providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to help the government based in Tripoli repel a year-long assault by eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar.

“I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President (Tayyip) Erdogan, I consider that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya today and going against all of its commitments made at the Berlin conference,” Macron said alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied, referring to a peace meeting earlier this year. We won’t tolerate the role that Turkey is playing in Libya,” he said.

'Turkey’s help appears to have secured Libya’s capital and the west of the country for the Tripoli government against Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. Paris has been accused of supporting Haftar politically, having previously given him military assistance to fight Islamist militants. France denies backing Haftar but has stopped short of rebuking his allies, while repeatedly criticising Turkey.'


 
Turkey has recently been flexing its muscles in Erdogan’s pursuit of a new Ottoman empire.
Erdogan would seem to have identified Libya as critical to its future plans and it seems is planning at least two permanent military bases in Libya.

It has signed a maritime boundary delimitation agreement with the GNA that would create a shared Turkish-Libyan maritime zone that divides one half the Mediterranean from the other. Egypt sees Turkey’s actions as threatening to the Suez Canal and the balance of power in the Mediterranean in general.

Turkey’s moves are also upsetting other major Mediterranean powers including France, but the Turkish-backed GNA still seems to be doing reasonably well despite France’s objections and Russia’s increased military support of LNA forces.

Egypt may also be feeling threatened by Turkey’s moves to improving its relations with Ethiopia, given that it has issues over Ethiopia's decision to begin filling its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without a water-sharing agreement in place with Sudan or Egypt.

Turkey also looks to expanding its power in the Horn of Africa, it already has a military base in Somalia, and would like to increase Turkey’s presence in Djibouti ,as well as securing Turkish interests in Iraq and Syria.

Sinan Ulgen former Turkish diplomat and chairs of the Istanbul-based think-tank Edam seems to believe it “inevitable” that any Turkish leader would reassess the nation’s place in a changing world. He feels western nations are partly to blame for the acrimonious nature of the shift, with the deterioration of Ankara’s relationship with the US and “total ineffectiveness” of the EU as a security partner for Ankara.

No thought however of the various actions by Turkey that caused this breakdown.

This he says caused Erdogan to feel Turkey has to be more active in trying to address its own security concerns. This compounded by the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Turkey over the past decade, which has alarmed EU and US officials.


 
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France trying to pressure NATO into doing something of substance against the 'frenemy'.

'France announced Wednesday that it is suspending its involvement in a NATO naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea after a standoff with a Turkish warship, amid growing tensions within the military alliance over the conflict in Libya.

'France’s Defense Ministry said that the government sent a letter Tuesday to NATO saying it is halting its participation in Sea Guardian “temporarily.” It came after NATO investigators submitted their report into the June 10 incident. A ministry official said France wants NATO allies to “solemnly reaffirm their attachment” to the arms embargo on Libya, which is being policed in part by a European Union naval operation. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity under the government’s customary practices.

'France has accused Turkey of repeated violations of the U.N. arms embargo on Libya and branded the Turkish government as an obstacle to securing a ceasefire in the North African nation, which Turkey firmly denies. France is also calling for a crisis mechanism to prevent a repeat of the incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean. France says its frigate Courbet was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Tanzanian-flagged civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking. The ship was being escorted by three Turkish warships. The Courbet backed off after the confrontation.

'At the time, the French frigate was part of the Sea Guardian mission, which is helping to provide maritime security in the Mediterranean. France said it was acting based on NATO information and that under the alliance’s rules of engagement such conduct is considered a hostile act. Turkey has denied harassing the Courbet. Turkey’s ambassador to France was questioned in the French Senate on Wednesday and defended Turkey’s actions as peaceful and crucial to restoring stability to Libya.'


 
Copied to the Turkey specific thread . . .

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Published by: Xavier Vavasseur, NAVAL NEWS, on 03 Jul 2020.

France Pulls Out of NATO Operation Sea Guardian Amid Tensions with Turkey.

France announced Wednesday July 1st that it is suspending its involvement in NATO operation Sea Guardian following tensions with Turkey.


The move follows an incident which took place off the Libyan coast on June 10 between French Navy (Marine Nationale) La Fayette-class Frigate Courbet and Turkish Navy (Türk Deniz Kuvvetleri) vessels (including allegedly Barbaros-class frigate TCG Oruçreis). The Courbet was then taking part in Operation Sea Guardian, having departed Toulon Naval base on 28 May, according to a NATO press release.

The incident happened in a context of strong political tensions between France and Turkey, in particular over Libya.

France says the Courbet was targeted three times by the Turkish vessel’s fire control radars, which is an hostile act. The French frigate was trying to approach a Tanzanian-flagged civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking with Libya. The cargo ship was under the escort of three Turkish vessels. Turkey denied harassing the Courbet.

During an hearing at the EU’s Security and Defense Subcommittee on July 2nd, French minister of the armed forces, Florence Parly said:

I would like to pause for a moment on the very worrying behavior of Turkey. France and Turkey are both participating in the NATO Sea Guardian maritime security operation in the eastern Mediterranean, of which one of the missions is to provide maritime surveillance against trafficking.

This came after the United Nations imposed an embargo on arms supplies to Libya. Fifteen days ago, when a French ship was controlling a suspicious cargo ship from Turkey, Turkish frigates interfered and one of them, as we say in military language, illuminated the French ship with its fire control radar. It is an aggressive and unworthy act for a NATO ally.

I then pointed that very clearly at the last NATO ministerial meeting. I have been supported by many of my European counterparts and I thank them. We are supposed to be an alliance. An ally who conscientiously violates the rules that the Alliance is supposed to enforce and tries to threaten those who interrogate him is not acceptable. We therefore made four requests to prevent this type of incident from happening again:

  • a solemn reaffirmation of respect for the embargo;
  • a categorical rejection of Turkey’s use of NATO codes to carry out its traffic;
  • better cooperation between the EU and NATO;
  • and deconfliction mechanisms.
Pending clarification on these various points, the President of the French Republic has decided to withdraw the French resources devoted to Sea Guardian until further notice.

A similar incident has been reported by the Hellenic Navy when one of its helicopter tried to land a VBSS team aboard another cargo vessel off Libya, but was warned by radio message that the vessel was under protection of the Turkish Republic. CNN Greece, which first reported the incident, said the Hellenic frigate was the Spetsai and the cargo vessel was Tanzanian-flagged Cirkin. The Spetsai was not part of NATO operation Sea Guardian but was under the command of European operation IRINI, which was set up by the European Union in February to stop arms imports to Libya in accordance with the UN weapons embargo.

Operation Sea Guardian is a non-Article 5 Maritime Security Operation, working with Mediterranean stakeholders to deter and counter terrorism, project stability and mitigate the risk of other threats to security for NATO Allies and partners in the Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding area. OSG has three core missions: maritime situational awareness, counter-terrorism and capacity building.

[photo] French FS Courbet casts off for EUROMARFOR patrol. NATO picture.

1593785166335.png


 
If the reporting is accurate, this could mark the start of a significant escalation. It's pretty unlikely that it was the Qataris.

'Informed sources told The Arab Weekly that the warplanes that targeted al-Watiya airbase in western Libya were Rafale jets, which limits the identity of the attacking power to France and Egypt, the two countries within the range of the base that possess this type of aircraft. The sources considered the attack a quick response to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s visit to Tripoli, which reflected the extent of Turkish persistence in western Libya.

'The Turkish presence in Libya is highly worrisome to both Cairo and Paris, pushing them to raise the tone of their criticism of Ankara. Cairo has threatened to intervene militarily in Libya if the Turkish-backed Tripoli militias tried to advance towards Sirte, while Paris described the Turkish moves as “unacceptable,” stressing that it would not allow this to continue.

'But this recent airstrike on al-Watiya air base showed that the red lines in airspace differ from the red lines on land drawn by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Indeed, basing fighter planes and military drones in al-Watiya constitute a direct threat to any army units deployed in Sirte, al-Jufra base and eastern Libya. Sisi has floated the possibility of his country directly intervening in Libya, pointing out that Egypt “will not allow the conflict in Libya to cross the Sirte line.” He also stressed that, “with regard to Egypt’s security, al-Jufra is a red line that we will not allow any force to cross.”


 
If the reporting is accurate, this could mark the start of a significant escalation. It's pretty unlikely that it was the Qataris.

'Informed sources told The Arab Weekly that the warplanes that targeted al-Watiya airbase in western Libya were Rafale jets, which limits the identity of the attacking power to France and Egypt, the two countries within the range of the base that possess this type of aircraft. The sources considered the attack a quick response to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s visit to Tripoli, which reflected the extent of Turkish persistence in western Libya.

'The Turkish presence in Libya is highly worrisome to both Cairo and Paris, pushing them to raise the tone of their criticism of Ankara. Cairo has threatened to intervene militarily in Libya if the Turkish-backed Tripoli militias tried to advance towards Sirte, while Paris described the Turkish moves as “unacceptable,” stressing that it would not allow this to continue.

'But this recent airstrike on al-Watiya air base showed that the red lines in airspace differ from the red lines on land drawn by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Indeed, basing fighter planes and military drones in al-Watiya constitute a direct threat to any army units deployed in Sirte, al-Jufra base and eastern Libya. Sisi has floated the possibility of his country directly intervening in Libya, pointing out that Egypt “will not allow the conflict in Libya to cross the Sirte line.” He also stressed that, “with regard to Egypt’s security, al-Jufra is a red line that we will not allow any force to cross.”


So Macron has probably forgotten how painful Algeria was to France. Interesting times because France’s last excursion were linked to Colonialism. I’m also intrigued why the international community is always driven by Tripoli and not Benghazi, as both could be construed as Capitals. Haftar probably isn’t particularly nice But it’s stability that’s required. On the Other hand whilst using Turkey as an excuse is Egypt looking to expand?
 
So Macron has probably forgotten how painful Algeria was to France. Interesting times because France’s last excursion were linked to Colonialism.
There wasn't a lot of colonialism by the French during UNIFIED PROTECTOR, which was only 9 years ago, and I believe for the ongoing SERVAL, France is there at the request of the Malian government.
 
There wasn't a lot of colonialism by the French during UNIFIED PROTECTOR, which was only 9 years ago, and I believe for the ongoing SERVAL, France is there at the request of the Malian government.
Superficially I’d agree. However Mali didn’t get to be Francophone for no reason. France is desperate to maintain influence in a post colonial world.
 
UAE Mirage 2000 makes rather more sense than French Rafale, although Egyptian Rafale remains a possibility. In any case, it shows a further internationalization of the conflict.

'Last weekend at the Libyan air base al-Watiya, located 140 kilometers from Tripoli, were destroyed three Turkish anti-aircraft missile systems MIM-23 Hawk and electronic warfare and radar systems of Ukrainian production, as BulgarianMilitary.com reported.

'The facility is in the occupation of the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya. According to media reports, the Mirage 2000-9 fighter of the United Arab Emirates Air Force fighter attack, which took off from Egypt, presumably from the Sidi-Barani air base.'


 
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Further reporting of a potential Egyptian intervention.

'The Egyptian army launched, on Thursday, a large-scale military exercise dubbed “Hasm 2020” in the western region near the border with Libya. Various types of advanced battle equipment were used and tested in preparation for what could be an imminent intervention in Libya.

'This step reinforces expectations that the Egyptian army has decided on the military option in dealing with the Libyan crisis, after Turkey's interventions and threats have created a situation that is difficult to accept in a neighbouring country which represents a vital strategic depth for Egyptian national security.

'Cairo used to give names to military operations and manoeuvres that have clear indications and implications for the tasks required. Two years ago, it dubbed its military campaign against terrorist groups in Sinai “The Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, which in fact did wipe out the military capabilities of these groups.

'The Egyptian leadership has intensified its military moves on the country’s western front to fill in the void that had been in place for decades, considering that this region did not represent a direct security threat, while the north-eastern front was considered the main source of security threats for decades.'


 

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