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Turkey slams France over Foreign Minister’s allegations 

April 22, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian in Ankara, Turkey on 13 June 2019 [Evrim Aydın/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey yesterday described Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s recent accusations against France’s NATO ally as an attempt to draw attention away from his country’s impotence in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“By targeting Turkey in his interview with Le Monde newspaper,” said Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, “…Jean-Yves Le Drian is trying to cover up the desperate situation that France is facing due to the coronavirus crisis.”

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According to Aksoy, Le Drian’s remarks about the alleged danger that Turkey poses to Europe is a defensive measure against the insecurity France feels about the fact that Turkey has delivered planeloads of medical supplies and aid to European allies such as Spain, Italy and Britain. “It appears that the help extended by Turkey during these dark times as a true friend has created discomfort in France, which could not help its European neighbours during their most difficult days.”

In his interview with Le Monde, the French official questioned Turkey’s true intentions and alliances within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Europe. He claimed that Ankara has been playing a double game and undermining the interests of its allies.

“In fact,” insisted Aksoy, “it is France who is supporting terrorist organisations in Syria, backing the forces [of Khalifa Haftar] against the legitimate regime in Libya, eroding the solution dynamics of the Island [Cyprus] and persistently ignoring the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and trying to implement sanctions on its ally, Turkey.”

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The Foreign Ministry spokesman expanded on France’s subtle support for Haftar against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya through which, he noted, it is continuing to support the suffering of the Libyan people. “Let us not forget that in contradiction with Resolution 2259 of the UN Security Council, by supporting Haftar — who believes that the only solution to the crisis in Libya is through military means; who sabotages all ceasefire efforts; who bombs hospitals even during these epidemic days; who blocks Libya’s only income, which is oil production; and who cuts water lines — France is preventing the cessation of the Libyan people’s suffering.”

Aksoy ended by insisting that France should focus on maintaining the health of its citizens and the European people in the wake of the respiratory virus that has spread around the world. “By pulling away from its ambition for competition, [France] must give up seeing Turkey as a threat to Europe’s welfare and security.”