Ankara, Turkey – A German frigate involved in operation Irini, which was dispatched and administered by a Greek commander, stopped a Turkish flagged ship carrying various substances such as food and paint from Turkey to Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean and searched for hours in violation of international law.
Reacting harshly to the call, the Foreign Office said: ‘this double-standard and unlawful treatment of ships transporting to Libya is never acceptable. We regret that our ship, which does not violate the arms embargo, was detained for hours under heavy weather conditions, as well as that the personnel were treated as criminals during the inspection. We are protesting this unauthorized and use of force action,” he said.
Deputy President Oktay said: “the EU has once again registered that it is biased with its latest operation, Operation Irini, which it launched without consultation. I strongly condemn the unlawful intervention of a German frigate against our freighter within the framework of this controversial operation,” he said.
“Because the ship is a German ship, the tactical commander is a Greek Commander, ” said Retired Admiral Cem Gürdeniz. The two decision makers took hostile action against Turkey. Arrogant men! The staff are also resisting, and I congratulate them. There’s nothing unforgivable about that,” he said. On the other hand, the transport company has also received a statement on this issue.
According to information obtained, the Turkish ship Roselina-A moved to Libya, anchoring from Istanbul with humanitarian supplies. The ship was intercepted last night in the southwest of the Peloponnese in violation of international law by the German Navy, which was involved in operation Irini, a mission led by a commander of the Greek naval forces.
According to maritime law, although the consent of the flag state must be obtained for personnel to come on board to search the ships, the personnel of the Hamburg frigate disembarked the ship from a helicopter without such permission from Turkey. The helicopter landing of the personnel on board and the movements of the Hamburg frigate around the ship Roselina-A were also recorded by the ship’s personnel on their mobile phone.
By lowering the speed of the ship, the soldiers who blocked it from its path did not comply with all warnings that what was done was not legal without permission from Turkey, opening all the containers on the ship. After a search that lasted until the first light of the morning, the soldiers left the ship, realizing that there was nothing on the ship except humanitarian supplies, food items such as biscuits, paint.
Vice President Fuat Oktay said: “the EU has once again registered that it is biased with its latest operation, Operation Irini, which it launched without consultation. I strongly condemn the unlawful intervention of a German frigate against our freighter within the framework of this controversial operation,” he said.
As the ship continues its course towards the Port of Misrata, it was learned that Turkey will take initiatives before international organizations on this issue. Security sources also described the arrival of elements of the Irini movement on board without the consent of the flag state as illegal behavior.
Due to the scandal, the ship was exposed to heavy sea conditions in the Mediterranean for several hours, the sources said, stressing that the principle of the freedom of the High Seas was also clearly violated due to the incident.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy made a written statement about the inspection of the Turkish-flagged commercial ship without Turkey’s consent as part of Operation Irini. Aksoy, operation Irini, carried out by the EU, but the purpose and benefit of the operation is open to discussion, noting that “yesterday (22 November) as part of this operation, the German warship named ‘Hamburg’, Ambarli port to Misurata paint, paint materials and humanitarian aid materials transporting ‘MV Roseline A’ Turkish flag merchant ship in detail in the morning.
The captain cooperated and shared detailed information about the ship’s cargo and expedition. Despite this, at 17: 45, armed elements of Operation Irini came aboard and conducted a long-hours inspection. All personnel, including the captain, were forcibly searched, all personnel were gathered and detained in one place, armed soldiers were planted on the captain’s head, containers were searched by force.
The intervention in question was carried out neither with the consent of our country as a flag state, nor with the consent of the ship’s captain. Despite the captain’s statements about the nature of the cargo being transported, this intervention, which was launched on ambiguous suspicion and continued until after midnight, was terminated only on the insistent objections of our country. Armed personnel waited on the merchant ship until morning and left the ship at 09: 38 in the morning,” he said.
Responding to the intervention, Aksoy said: “We regret that our ship, which does not violate the arms embargo, was detained from its route for hours under heavy weather conditions, as well as that the personnel were treated as criminals during the inspection. We are protesting this unauthorized and forceful act. Any right to compensation of the natural and legal persons concerned for damages and losses that may arise from this shall be reserved in its nature. In order to interfere with commercial vessels in international waters, it is essential to obtain the consent of the flag state.
The UN resolutions on the Libyan arms embargo do not eliminate this obligation. The neutrality of Operation Irini, launched by the EU without consultation with the legitimate Libyan government, our country, or NATO, is already debatable. However, this double-standard and illegal treatment of ships transporting from our country to Libya is never acceptable. As we have mentioned many times before, Operation Irini is a biased operation. The coup is an operation to punish the legitimate Libyan government, which does not control the arms support that comes to Hafter, and practices arbitrarily,” he said.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Shentop said: “I strongly condemn the intervention of the German frigate on the Turkish ship sailing to Libya for commercial purposes. This is modern piracy, Bandit and barbarism. Turkey, with its necessary initiatives, will immediately ask for the account of this international lawlessness and rudeness,” he said.
Operation Irini is a controversial operation launched in the Mediterranean by the European Union (EU) to oversee the United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Libya. Although UN Security Council resolution 2292 requires consultation and permission from the legitimate government of the national reconciliation government, operation Irini, launched, reacts as a biased and illegal operation. Some European countries do not voice the operation in order to benefit from EU funds, while some countries that are more courageous are withdrawing from the operation by putting their reactions to it.
A transport company has announced an illegal search on a Turkish ship in the eastern Mediterranean.
“On November 22, 2020, at around 10:30 a.m. local time, the Turkish-flagged M/V Roseline a container freighter, registered 9163984 IMO, owned by our company, was subjected to some questioning by radio from a frigate named f220, which identified itself as EU Warship and appeared to be a German ship, and then from a helicopter removed from the same ship, some military personnel were lowered to our ship despite the opposition of the ship’s captain. Military personnel searched the ship and some containers that were transported in an armed manner. The same team left our ship by helicopter about 16 hours later. During radio interrogations before the soldiers arrived on our ship, the situation was communicated by the captain to both the Turkish Coast Guard Command and the MRCC Ankara, and by the authorities of our company to the Ministry of transport and infrastructure of the TC. As of 23.11.2020, our ship resumed its normal course at 10:00 local time.
Our company has complied with national and international rules and practices in all its activities to this day to the fullest extent and has not encountered any negative situation. All the transports it carries out are for humanitarian and commercial purposes. Facing such an application has caused our crew concern and upset our company. In response to the arrival of soldiers on our ship during the incident, our crew, who have many years of offshore experience, did not show any strength, acted cooperatively and harmoniously, preventing a sad event from occurring.
“The issue is being pursued by the Ministries of Transport and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs and National Defense”
International Relations expert Prof Mesut Hakkı Casin, speaking about the scandal, said:
“A search cannot be conducted in international waters without strong evidence of smuggling and acts contrary to international law in any way. Each state guarantees its own flagged ship that it is carrying cargo in accordance with the law. But what Greece wants to do with Operation Irina is against international law. There have been attempts by Greece before. It was the second time it had been by a French ship. What is wanted here is that Greece aims to humiliate Turkey, to claim that Turkey is engaged in smuggling actions, and in this way to find a number of legal signs that Turkey is providing arms assistance to Libya. That’s not the purpose of operation Irina. Greece’s search and rescue without providing any information is an act of piracy. Turkey is not a smuggler state. Turkey will carry this before both NATO and the UN. No state has the right to interfere with ships.”
AK Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş also made the following statement on Twitter:
“Pirate interference from a German frigate on a Turkish merchant ship heading from Turkey to Libya is unacceptable. We will not hesitate to exercise any legal right against this barbarism, which is completely contrary to international law.”
Retired Admiral Cem Gürdeniz made the following comment:
“This is clearly a hostile act, let’s call it that. German and Greek land transmitters are involved. Because the ship is a German ship, the tactical commander is a Greek commander. The two decision makers took hostile action against Turkey. What’s done is banditry at sea.. The state department needs to make a statement immediately. It’s clearly being attacked, the helicopter is coming.
Now according to international law of the sea, the Vienna protocol, the Palermo Convention, the Rome Convention; despite these.One is human trafficking, one is drug trafficking, the other is armed activities. Even these do not go on board without the permission of the flag state and the approval of the ship’s captain. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it. Especially the ship of a NATO member country. Here the ship is officially Turkish flagged. A bandit was made here in exchange for the Turkish flag.
The German government should apologize to Turkey. The EU has also given Turkey the following message, it says that I am not with you. Look at the staff there, he almost uses force if he’s not ashamed. Arrogant men! The staff are also resisting, and I congratulate them. There’s nothing unforgivable about that. I’m so nervous and angry, sorry.”