Turkey's Defense Ministry announced on Friday that its forces have launched a search and rescue exercise off the coast of Libya.
“Within the scope of the activities of the Turkish Naval Task Group, a search and rescue exercise at sea was carried out by TCG GEMLİK Frigate operating offshore Libya and the helicopter stationed on the ship,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Turkey is in talks with the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Fayez al-Sarraj, over oil and gas exploration in Libya, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration seeks business opportunities in the conflict-ridden North African country.
In other news, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Ankara to cease its export of arms to Libya, pointing out that Turkey is seeking hegemony in the Mediterranean.
Macron, whose country on Thursday hosted the MED 7, the Summit of the Southern EU Countries, said that one destiny unites the countries bordering the Mediterranean, calling on Europe to raise a sharper and clearer voice towards Turkey.
Concluding the summit, Macron noted that the Mediterranean has become a theater for ongoing conflict in Libya and Syria, warning that the historical play for hegemony is being carried out by states seeking to destabilize the region.
The French president also pointed out that the Russian and Turkish roles in the region are concerning.
Macron's demand for Turkey to stop sending weapons to Libya came at a time when a report by a UN team of experts revealed that Ankara had violated the UN Security Council resolution banning weapons on Libya.
In 2019, Turkey had carried out an extensive arms transfer to Libya, moving at least 10 different weapons systems into the country. Turkey is also responsible for deploying soldiers and thousands of foreign mercenaries there.