Back in 2020, according to French sources:

the relationship between Paris and Ankara was severely affected by a serious naval incident on June 10, in which a Turkish vessel threatened a French frigate (the Courbet) off the Libyan coast. This added yet another knot to the growing tensions between the two. At a meeting of the NATO Council the French strongly condemned the attitude of the Turkish navy, receiving the support of eight allies among thirty (not including the British).

The BBC's description of that event

What happened next is still under dispute. According to French defence forces, Turkish ships escorting the Cirkin - which they said was carrying medical supplies - acted aggressively to the Courbet, and even targeted it with their weapons systems three times.

Turkey denies the French allegation, saying the interaction was friendly.

Almost certainly Italy was also not among France's supporters given that e.g.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had previously accused France of interfering in Libya, to prevent Italy from obtaining “important concessions” in the field of energy. She also accused the French intervention in Libya of “causing the chaos of illegal immigration that Europe suffers from today.”

But which (8) NATO countries more precisely backed France in their spat with Turkey in the Courbet incident? (Assuming the first source has that number right.)

1 Answer 1


I don't believe that this is public information or has been subsequently revealed - it's certainly not contained in the minutes of the June 16th-18th meeting of NATO Defence Ministers during which this support was apparently received.

The figure of eight allies originated from then French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who reported to the Senate on June 18th:

Our allies share our concerns. Eight European allies, including major countries, have given me clear support. We need to reflect on what is happening in the alliance. We must face up to abuse. The argument that this is preventing Russia from taking its place in Libya is a bit short-sighted.

Reuters, in an article on July 7th, identifies three of the eight:

At the last NATO defence ministers’ meeting in late June, via video link, eight countries including Germany, Italy and Spain backed seeking a more cooperative approach from Turkey.

Le Figaro also named Germany and Italy as supporters at the time.

Oddly, though, at the end of July, the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) published an article giving the figure for the number of supporters as ten, including the UK:

Immediately thereafter, France requested a NATO Council meeting to discuss the incident and asked for an official inquiry by the Alliance. Interestingly, whereas 10 NATO members supported France’s demand (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK), none of the Alliance’s eastern flank (Slovakia excepted) or Nordic members did.

Politico, however, seems very clear that the supporters did not include the UK or the US.

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