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World Turkey blasts 'unauthorised' German search on Libya-bound ship

18:31  23 november  2020
18:31  23 november  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Turkey prevented German soldiers on an EU military mission in the Mediterranean from The frigate was part of the EU’s Irini mission aimed at stopping embargoed arms reaching Libya . In Ankara on Monday officials protested an “ unauthorized ” search on the Turkish ship “carrying humanitarian

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Turkey accused the German navy on Monday of conducting an "unauthorised" search on a Turkish-flagged cargo vessel in a bid to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

a wooden boat in a body of water: Footage filmed by crew shows a German soldier landing from a helicopter onto the Turkish cargo ship © - Footage filmed by crew shows a German soldier landing from a helicopter onto the Turkish cargo ship

But the European Union's Operation Irini -- tasked with halting arms shipments to the strife-torn north African country -- said it had made a "good faith" effort to get Turkey's consent for the inspection and aborted it as soon as Ankara made its objections clear.

a group of people sitting at a desk: A screen grab from a video shot by Roseline A crew shows German soldiers searching staff members of the Turkish cargo ship © - A screen grab from a video shot by Roseline A crew shows German soldiers searching staff members of the Turkish cargo ship

The Turkish foreign ministry said Germany's Hamburg frigate stopped and searched the Roseline A commercial vessel without permission on Sunday evening off the coast of Greece's Peloponnesus peninsula.

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Turkish authorities searched a German -owned ship on Thursday over allegations that it might be carrying Iranian weapons bound for Syria. The vessel then changed course and docked at Turkey ’s southern port of Iskenderun where the search is being carried out.

Libya , which became a springboard for migrants trying to reach Europe, is laden with arms By controlling the arms flows to Libya , the EU also plans to provide weapons for the UN-backed Libyan unity government by granting exemptions in the embargo to help it to regain control over the country.

Footage filmed by the vessel's crew and aired repeatedly on Turkish television showed a quarrel between crew members and armed German soldiers who landed on the ship from a helicopter.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the ship was carrying paint and humanitarian supplies headed to the Libyan port of Misrata.

"This intervention was carried out with the consent of neither our country as the flag state nor the ship's captain," the Turkish ministry said.

"I am strongly condemning this unlawful intervention," Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay added.

But both the operation's European command and officials in Berlin said Turkey raised its objections only after the German soldiers had boarded the vessel.

"Everything went exactly according to protocol," a German foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

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Libya U.N. envoy Martin Kobler has told the Security Council that Libya is already awash with arms, with 20 million pieces of weaponry in the North The EU and NATO say they could operate closer to Libyan shores if requested by the Libyan government, but for now the EU will focus on training the

The ship ’s bill of lading claimed it was bound for Djibouti and Oman after taking on cargo in Mersin and Iskenderun, Turkey . Greek coast guard officers intercepted a cargo ship en route to Libya on January 9 after it was found to be carrying 29 containers of arms and explosives.

Operation Irini said in statement that it had "made good faith efforts to seek (Turkey's) consent".

"When (Turkey) made it clear that it denied the permission to inspect the vessel, Operation Irini suspended the activities during which no evidence of illicit material was found," it said.

Operation Irini's official website says the mission reserves the right to board ships without permission when conducting so-called "friendly approaches".

- European warning -

Libya has endured almost a decade of violence since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Turkey backs the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in western Libya and views the EU mission as biased in favour of the eastern command -- backed by the United Arab Emirates as well as Russia and France.

The warring sides agreed a ceasefire deal last month that paves the way for national elections on December 24.

But the process remains fragile and four EU powers involved in efforts to end the conflict issued a joint statement Monday threatening sanctions against "all Libyan and international parties" standing in the way of peace.

Operation Irini said the aborted inspection of the Turkish vessel was the fifth since the mission was officially launched on March 31.

Turkey last sparred with EU powers over inspections when a French frigate under NATO command sought in June to search a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship.

Paris then complained that one of its ships was subjected to radar targeting by Turkish frigates while trying to inspect the cargo.

Ankara denied the charge.

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