Turkish ship boarded by EU

Turkey vows response to EU for the boarding of its ship

Turkish government will give the necessary response to the EU after the boarding in international waters of a civilian ship.

Turkish National Security Council (MGK) condemned after a meeting on Wednesday the EU-led Operation Irini, during which a Turkish ship bound for Libya was intercepted by a military vessel, and reiterated the determination to give the necessary response to an action in international waters that Ankara considers illegal.

The MGK met late on Wednesday in Ankara under the presidency of the President of the Republic Tayyip Erdoğan in a meeting that lasted for more than 4 hours, and in which disapproval and condemnation of the “unilateral” action by the EU was once again expressed, adding that it was “contrary to international laws” and “alliance relations” with Turkey, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

Erdoğan himself underlined that Turkey has always acted patiently and calmly in the Mediterranean despite many “provocations” by Greece and the Greek Cypriots; precisely the German frigate that intercepted the Turkish freighter “Rosaline A” about 200 kilometres north of the coast of the Libyan city of Benghazi, was commanded by a Greek officer.

“Unfortunately, and despite our calm and patient behavior, there was an attack on our civilian ship, which was transporting goods to Libya for humanitarian reasons. This has no possible place in international maritime laws,” Erdoğan said.

The ship’s crew was held at gunpoint

The Turkish foreign ministry also issued a note on Monday protesting the action of the German military vessel in the framework of the EU’s Operation Irini, which seeks to prevent other countries from violating the arms embargo on Libya. In this regard, Ankara sayd on Monday that this operation “is not impartial” and punishes the legitimate government of Libya recognised by the UN, while on the contrary “it does not inspect the arms shipments to the rebel general Khalifa Haftar,” which is supported by France.

The images obtained by the security cameras of the Turkish ship show how armed soldiers boarded the cargo ship, where the entire crew was held including its captain, at whom the soldiers pointed their guns while searching for weapons. The search was carried out without due permission from Turkey, and was only suspended after protests by the authorities in Ankara.