France said Wednesday it was suspending its participation in a NATO Mediterranean maritime security operation owing to the behaviour of Turkey, in a new escalation of a growing dispute between the two alliance allies.
Paris and Ankara have exchanged bitter barbs over the last days concerning the conflict in Libya, with both sides accusing each other of stoking bloodshed in the North African country.
The defence ministry said France would no longer take part in the NATO operation until it gets a response to its concerns over the behaviour of Turkey.
“We have decided to temporarily withdraw our assets from the operation Sea Guardian” until France s concerns are addressed, a French defence official, who asked not to be named, told reporters.
Earlier this month, France denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish ships against a French navy vessel participating in the NATO mission in the Mediterranean, a claim Ankara dismissed as “groundless”.