Turkey has responded to French criticism of its involvement in Libya, accusing Paris on Tuesday of “playing a dangerous game in Libya” by supporting the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar against the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
“France has a major responsibility for Libya being dragged into chaos by supporting illegal structures there for years, and therefore, it is actually France which is playing a dangerous game in Libya,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
In a sign of mounting tensions between two NATO allies, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Ankara on Monday of playing a “dangerous game” in the north African country that can no longer be tolerated.
Pentagon calls for end to mercenaries amid Sirte threats
The war of words came as the US Pentagon called for an “immediate end” to foreign mercenaries’ involvement in the Libyan conflict and for all sides to return to the political process on Tuesday.
Turkey has been accused of sending thousands of Syrian mercenaries to support the GNA in the ongoing conflict.
Tensions have heightened in recent weeks as the GNA has gained ground against the LNA, pushing it back eastwards and now threatening the strategic city of Sirte.
The LNA, backed by Egypt, has said that it will never give up Sirte to Turkey, “no matter the sacrifice.”
"We will not leave Sirte for Turkey, no matter the sacrifices," LNA official Khaled al-Mahjoub told Al Arabiya on Sunday.
Sirte has strategic significance as a gateway to Libya's vast oil resources.