France calls on EU for no-holds-barred discussion on Turkey relations
France called on Wednesday for urgent talks with other EU members to discuss the bloc’s future relations with Turkey, Reuters reported.
“France considers it essential that the European Union extremely quickly opens a substantive discussion, with nothing ruled out, without being naive, about the prospects for the future relationship of the European Union with Ankara,” Reuters quoted French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying to lawmakers.
Le Drian’s statement came after France accused Turkish naval vessels, which were escorting a cargo ship suspected of carrying weapons of harassing a French warship on a NATO mission to enforce a U.N. arms embargo.
France’s top diplomat described that incident as "absolutely scandalous" and a "grave action" by Ankara, according to Agence France Presse.
The June 10 incident caused a fresh row between Ankara and Paris, which criticised Turkey’s military operations in the Syria conflict and is one of a conglomerate of countries that oppose Turkey’s territorial claims to offshore gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey and France also support opposite sides of the Libyan conflict, exchanging blame for the instability in war-torn North African country. Turkey has secured a foothold in Libya by providing military support for the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in the form of drones, armoured vehicles and Syrian mercenaries.
“We need clarifications on the role Turkey intends to play in Libya where I believe that we are witnessing a Syrianisation,” Le Drian said, referring to the Syrian fighters.