Berlin announced that Ankara had prevented it from completing a search of a Turkish ship headed to the city of Misrata, which was suspected of transporting weapons to Libya for militias supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA).
German website Der Spiegel revealed that Turkey prevented the German army, which is working within the European Union mission of Operation Irene to monitor the ban on supplying weapons to Libya, from examining a suspicious cargo ship at the last moment.
The website stated that the German frigate Hamburg stopped the Turkish cargo ship Rosaline A on Sunday, 200km north of Benghazi in eastern Libya, because the EU mission had indications that the ship was carrying weapons being smuggled to Libya. However, the German soldiers had to leave the ship and allow it to continue on its way to Misrata.
Over the past months, Turkey has intensified its interventions in the Libyan file, supporting the GNA against the Libyan National Army (LNA) with weapons and equipment. Ankara has also sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries and forced them into battles in the capital, Tripoli.
It is noteworthy that the international community had stressed during the Berlin Summit in January the need to stop foreign interference and to continue to prohibit the flow of weapons in order to reach a solution to the conflict, which has plunged the country into fighting and termoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Libya, which has been mired by chaos for years, began a new round of dialogue between the conflicting parties under the auspices of the United Nations, with hopes of reaching an agreement on mechanisms to run for positions in the Presidential Council and the government in charge of holding parliamentary elections next December.
The conflict in Libya has been exacerbated by foreign armed interventions, as the GNA receives support from Turkey.
Operation Irene replaced Operation Sophia, which was launched in 2015, but it is only charged with monitoring the arms embargo.
Germany is also participating in this new European mission with 300 soldiers, and the Bundestag approved on Thursday evening for the German army to participate in the mission and granted it a mandate to do so until the end of April 2021.
The ships participating in the mission will intervene in areas far from the migrant smuggling routes, at the request of Austria and Hungary, which fear that Irene will exacerbate the number of asylum seekers in Europe.
However, observers believe that this operation remains in doubt. In this context, EU High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy Joseph Borrell appeared very reserved and cautious about accusing Turkey of responsibility for violating the UN resolution banning arms supplies to Libya, stressing that many parties do this, so one party alone cannot be accused.