Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed Greece and Cyprus for German commandos inspecting a Turkish vessel on behalf of a European Union mission to implement an arms embargo on Libya.
“Despite the provocations by Greece and the [the Republic of Cyprus] on the eastern Mediterranean issue, we have reacted with patience and restraint,” Erdoğan said when speaking to deputies of the ruling AKParty.
“However, despite our patient and restrained attitude, they recently raided our freighter that was transporting cargo to Libya. This was not in line with the international law of the sea,” Erdoğan said.
“Once again, the captain of the ship that conducted the operation was a Greek national. When they boarded the ship, they harassed the crew,” he added.
German commandos attached to the EU’s Irini Operation, with approval from NATO, are attempting to enforce a UN arms embargo against Libya.
The German soldiers boarded and searched the Rosaline A freighter on Monday with suspicion it was smuggling weapons to Libya.
Berlin received huge backlash from their Turkish allies for this move.
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.
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.