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Turkey rejects French criticism, says Paris exacerbating Libya crisis

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Frenchsupportfor"putschist"KhalifaHaftaraddstothepainandgrievancesofordinaryLibyans,s

French support for "putschist" Khalifa Haftar adds to the pain and grievances of ordinary Libyans, says Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Turkey rejects French criticism, says Paris exacerbating Libya crisis Turkey rejects French criticism, says Paris exacerbating Libya crisis environment Libya's internationally recognised government soldier are seen after regaining control over the city, in Tripoli, Libya, June 4, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey on Tuesday said France deepens the conflict in Libya by supporting renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar against the country's internationally recognised government.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said French support encouraged Haftar to insist on military means and further added to the pain and grievances of war-weary Libyans.

Responding to a recent statement by France criticising Turkey's presence in Libya, Aksoy reiterated that Ankara had provided support for the government upon Tripoli's request.

"The greatest obstacle to peace and stability in Libya is the support provided by France and some other countries to the illegitimate entities, which is contrary to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions," Aksoy said in a statement.

Adding that the Turkish presence in Libya was legally-based, he said the French policy in the war-stricken country was not acceptable from a member of the NATO alliance.

Aksoy said France was acting as an agent of other countries in the region, and added that it has ill intentions for Libya, which was illustrated in its comments Monday.

Read more: France's underhand tactics have made things in Libya worse

"While Turkish actions in Libya are legitimate, France pursues its obscure policies as in Syria and acts as a foreign policy subcontractor of some countries in the region. These dark ties of France are very much worrying," the statement said. 

Turkey will continue supporting efforts under the auspices of the UN to ensure lasting peace and stability in Libya, the statement concluded.

The Libyan has army recently inflicted heavy blows on militias loyal to Haftar, liberating Tripoli's surroundings, as well as Tarhuna, Haftar's final stronghold in western Libya.

The internationally recognised government in Tripoli has been under attack by Haftar's militants since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations.

Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar's militias.

Read more: Is France pushing Libya into further conflict?

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