June 23, 2020 / 3:41 PM / 14 days ago

Turkey says Macron suffers 'eclipse of the mind' over Libya

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron waits for Tunisia's President Kais Saied before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey hit back on Tuesday at French criticism of its intervention in Libya, saying President Emmanuel Macron must have suffered an “eclipse of the mind” to oppose Ankara’s support for the internationally recognised Tripoli government.

With Turkish military backing, Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has reversed a 14-month assault on the capital Tripoli by forces led by Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Turkey’s involvement in Libya has strained ties with NATO ally France, which Ankara says has contributed to the chaos by backing Haftar.

On Monday, Macron accused Turkey of playing “a dangerous game” in Libya and voiced support for Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who said on Saturday Cairo had a right to intervene in its neighbour’s conflict.

“...Macron’s categorization of our country’s support for Libya’s legitimate government based on UN resolutions and upon their request as a ‘dangerous game’ can only be explained through an eclipse of the mind,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

“The current troubles in Libya are caused by the attacks of putschist Haftar, whom (Macron) supports and who is a warlord who refused ceasefire accords in Moscow and Berlin,” he said, referring to international efforts to end the fighting in January.

Paris has been accused of backing Haftar politically, having previously given him military aid to fight Islamist militants. France denies supporting Haftar, but has stopped short of rebuking his allies, while repeatedly criticising Turkey.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans

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