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Turkey-France. The Courbet incident is over. NATO tries to forget

(B2) After the clashing remarks between French and Turks, including within the Alliance, the time has come for deconfliction at sea to prevent the incident from happening again

The Italian frigates Carabiniere (F-593), French Courbet (F-712) and Turkish Salihreis (F-246) sailing together in Operation Sea Guardian at the beginning of June… before the incident (credit: NATO – Marcom – B2 archives )

The subject is not on the agenda for the meeting of NATO defense ministers which opens this Thursday. It was previously settled within the Alliance, between military personnel.

A buried report

The report requested by the French and undertaken under the aegis of the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg should not remain in the annals. It is not officially said that he is buried. But it's just like. Far from seeking to minimize the incident, Turkey played the victim seeking a public apology for its involvement. Which in a way torpedoed a report supposed to clarify the facts and ease tensions. The Allies therefore looked for other “ exit doors » to prevent the crisis from escalating.

A concrete response: the freezing of assets

The question of Courbet has, in fact, been on sale » in two ways. At the level of the European Union, the assets of the Turkish shipping company which owns the Circin were frozen (at the request of France), with a ban on a European source providing it with any funding (therefore theoretically any order!). A decision taken on September 21 at the same time as a few others (Read: Three transport companies blacklisted for violating Libya arms embargo). This infuriated Turkey at least verbally. But the message was received five out of five in Ankara, as in the shipping companies.

A list of ships monitored and an action plan at NATO

At the NATO level, the Circin is on the “attention list” of Marcom (NATO maritime command). Along with a few others. Which is also a sign of distrust towards the Turks and a very clear signal of the desire to enforce international rules. But the most important thing, within the Alliance, is undoubtedly the development of an action plan. A plan that document the reality of the incident and implements a series of measures to prevent its reissue “says a diplomat.

Specify the behavior of allies at sea

This plan reviews the behavior of the Allies at sea, particularly in the use of NATO designators and the means associated with a NATO operation (one of the problems during the Cirkin affair), as well as the relationship between the ships of the Alliance and the European operation EUNAVFOR Med Irini. This plan currently being developed in the corridors of the Alliance has already produced effects. “ In the tense context off Libya, there have been no more incidents of this type “, notes a diplomat” The Courbet incident is behind us. » At least we hope…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read also: A Turkish cargo ship bound for Misrata boarded by the Latouche Tréville. In the calm

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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