Ankara: Turkey started a criminal case over the inspection of its cargo ship in the Mediterranean by the European Union’s naval mission Irini, tasked to monitor the international embargo on arms supplies to Libya, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported on Friday.
The criminal case was launched by the prosecutor’s office in Ankara, according to the report.
Turkish-flagged freighter Roseline-A was stopped for inspection by German warship Hamburg in the Mediterranean on its way to Libya on Monday. Footage was released on the internet showing German servicemen storming a ship compartment loaded with weapons.
Turkey denied that the ship was carrying weapons and fired back by claiming that the search was unauthorized and, therefore, illegal. Hours after the inspection, the Italian ambassador and the German charge d’affaires in Ankara have been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry to be handed protest notes. Turkey also demanded a compensation for the delay of its ship. Germany had to cut the inspection short.
Operation Irini was established on March 31 to monitor the Libyan arms embargo but ended up drawing severe criticism over its failure to accomplish the task. Turkey, in particular, had obstructed the mission’s work repeatedly. In mid-June, Turkish warships did not let the European force inspect a Tanzanian vessel they accompanied to Libya.
Nevertheless, the UN Security Council unanimously voted in June to extend Operation Irini’s mandate for another year.