A prerequisite for maintaining NATO cohesion, in order to be able to carry out its mission, is the full compliance of the allies with international law, the principle of good neighbourliness and the obligations arising from the founding treaty of NATO.
This was pointed out by the Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, in his speech during a meeting of the NATO Ministers of Defence, which took place on Wednesday via video conference.
The comments were made in reference to Turkish navy aggression against French frigates in the Mediterranean Sea only days ago.
In this context, and on the occasion of the crisis in Libya, Panagiotopoulos “criticised the threat of use of force by an Allied ship against another Allied ship, which took place in the Mediterranean last week,” according to a ministry statement.
He described the behaviour as “not only problematic, but unheard of” and said that “similar behavior undermining NATO’s cohesion and solidarity is not an alliance with strong ties and common values, but an opportunistic group of individual interests,” AMNA reported.
The Minister of National Defence noted that the only solution is political consultations and negotiations between the warring parties, under the auspices of the United Nations and based on the parameters set by the Berlin Process.
On Wednesday, French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnès von der Mühll said that Turkey’s actions in preventing NATO allies from enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya was “hostile and aggressive,” adding that Ankara was the reason peace and stability could not be achieved in the North African nation.
An unnamed French official according to AFP news agency said Turkey’s actions are “extremely aggressive.”
“This is an extremely aggressive act that is unacceptable by an ally against a NATO ship. We consider this an extremely grave matter. We cannot accept that an ally behaves this way, that it does this against a NATO ship, under NATO command, carrying out a NATO mission,” the official said.
The most stunning statement from the unnamed official was “we have known complicated moments in the alliance, but we can’t be an ostrich and can’t pretend there isn’t a Turkey problem at NATO. We have to see it, say it and handle it.”