Turkey denies harassing French warship

Turkey has denied that its navy harassed a French warship on a NATO mission, Reuters said.

On Wednesday, a French defence ministry official said the harassment occurred after a French ship had wanted to check whether a Turkish vessel Çirkin was smuggling arms to Libya, but that the Çirkin had switched off its tracking system, masked its ID number, and refused to say where it was going.

A senior Turkish military official told Reuters on Wednesday that the French claims were “completely untrue” and that the French warship did not establish communications with the Turkish ship.

“If one takes into account that the French warship was refuelled by our side before the alleged incident, it is clear how inappropriate and intentional the allegation is,” he said.

France has accused Turkey’s navy of acting in a hostile manner to prevent the enforcement of a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

Turkey, has provided military backing to the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli to help to repel an assault on the capital by the rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and France, among others.