Turkey sent arms to Libya and violated a United Nations arms embargo on the war-torn country, the BBC reported on Thursday, citing satellite images and footages obtained by its investigation team.
A ship carrying armoured combat vehicles, cannons, self-propelled howitzers and an anti-aircraft gun, set sail from the Turkish port of Mersin heading towards Tunisia, then disappeared from tracking systems to head to Tripoli on Jan. 27, BBC said.
Satellite images obtained by the BBC showed three ships to the northeast of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, with the one in the middle matching the dimensions and colour scheme of the Turkish ship, called ‘BANA’.
Meanwhile, the other two ships escorting ‘BANA’ were G-Class frigates, which are only used by the Turkish navy. “Clearer satellite imagery taken on the same day completes the picture. It shows the BANA docket at the port of Tripoli,” the BBC said. The ship reached Genoa in Italy three day after it left Tripoli. A sailor offered information to Italian authorities on the role he said the ship played in the illegal arms trade between Turkey and Libya.
BBC showed images taken by the sailor showing weapons that he said he had taken in the ship’s cargo hold.
Turkey is the main backer of Libya’s U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord, and its earlier shipments of armoured vehicles and drones have helped the Tripoli-based government withstand an offensive launched last April by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).
Turkey has been sending military aid, including drones and armoured vehicles, to the GNA in spite of the arms embargo imposed on Libya by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) since February 2011.