Monday 23 November 2020
Scandal in the eastern Mediterranean: The German warship “Hamburg” wants to control a Turkish merchant ship near Libya. Because the “Hamburg” is supposed to prevent arms smuggling into the civil war country as part of the “Irini” operation. But Turkey prevents control at the last minute.
An incident occurred during the inspection of a Turkish ship as part of the EU’s “Irini” mission to prevent arms deliveries to Libya. As announced by the Bundeswehr operations command, the forces of the German frigate “Hamburg” entered the Turkish container freighter on Sunday. The inspection then had to be canceled because Turkey withdrew its approval, as a spokesman for the operational command said.
The Turkish freighter “Rosaline A” was stopped about 200 kilometers north of the east Libyan city of Benghazi because the “Irini” mission had indications that weapons were being smuggled into Libya on board. It is not unusual for a flag state to retrospectively withdraw its approval for an inspection, said the spokesman for the operational command. The Bundeswehr wrote on Twitter that the boarding team had stayed on board the Turkish ship until sunrise in order to be able to safely return to the frigate “Hamburg”.
In March this year, the EU decided on a new naval mission to enforce the arms embargo for Libya. The “Irini” military operation uses ships and airplanes to monitor the sea route to Libya. During the Libyan civil war, Turkey supports the UN-recognized unity government in Tripoli. The unity government is in conflict with General Khalifa Haftar, whose troops control areas in the east and south of the country. A number of states also provide military support to Haftar, including Egypt. The conflicting parties concluded a ceasefire at the end of October. Internal Libyan talks for a political solution have been taking place since the beginning of November under the auspices of the UN.
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