Ankara prevents German forces from inspecting Turkish ship suspected of carrying weapons to Libya

Bundeswehr: Frigate “Hamburg” stops Turkish freighter off Libya

As German forces were expelled from inspecting a Turkish ship suspected of delivering weapons to Libya, the European Union's Operation Irini has once again proven its ineffective in preventing Turkey from breaking an arms embargoes placed against the North African country.

The Turkish freighter Rosaline A was stopped on Sunday about 200 kilometers north of the east Libyan city of Benghazi by the German frigate "Hamburg" because the EU-led mission Irini had indications that weapons were illegal for the Libyan on board Civil War being smuggled.

German Frigate Hamburg.
German Frigate Hamburg.

What at first sounds like a routine mission resulted in a scandal. Turkey protested only hours after the German soldiers who were commissioned by the EU to curb the illegal arms smuggling to Libya boarded the ship in the late afternoon.

Specifically, Ankara informed the EU mission that the control would not be approved.

"On November 22, 2020 around 3:30 p.m. the frigate Hamburg of the Bundeswehrim Einsatz on behalf of EUNAVFOR MED Irini began boarding a Turkish container freighter. The situation on board was cooperative," the Bundeswehr said on Twitter.

The Bundeswehr is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration.

They added in a second tweet that Turkey "did not approve boarding afterwards, so the inspection was canceled by the mission leadership. After consultation with the ship's command, the boarding team stayed on board until sunrise in order to be able to return safely to Hamburg."

A spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry said Turkey's overall behavior - including the latest incident - is on the agenda of the December European Council.

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The German Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrea Sasse said that Germany has "made it clear that we feel that Turkey's behavior is problematic in many ways. We raise this regularly in Turkey."

"But we must reiterate that we have taken a position on Turkey's behavior many times," Sasse said when asked about a possible reaction from Germany. "Overall, Turkey's behavior is on the agenda of the December European Council."

Turkish weapons have continued to flood into Libya, provoking further destabilization in the already war-torn country.