Germany's Hamburg frigate, serving under a Greek-commanded EU naval mission, conducted the raid without informing Turkey, as per international maritime law, Turkish security forces say.

Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg boarded the Turkish freighter, the Rosaline A, overnight from a helicopter on November 21, 2020.
Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg boarded the Turkish freighter, the Rosaline A, overnight from a helicopter on November 21, 2020. (AA)

German frigate Hamburg working under Operation Irini has illegally conducted an operation on a Turkish cargo vessel carrying humanitarian aid to war-torn Libya, about 200 kilometres off the Libyan coast.

Turkey said on Sunday that the Hamburg frigate, serving under Greek-commanded EU mission, conducted the illegal operation without informing the flag-carrier nation's authorities, as per international maritime law.

Ankara said the operation took place in international waters, south of the Morea Peninsula, making it an unlawful search.

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'Biased' Irini operation

Turkish foreign ministry slammed the "biased" Irini operation, saying it ignores weapons heading to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar. 

"The neutrality of Operation Irini, which the EU launched without consulting with the legitimate Libyan government, our country, or NATO, is currently under discussion," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

"This double-standard and illegal treatment applied to ships transporting from our country to Libya are never acceptable," he said.

"As we have mentioned many times before, the Irini operation is a biased operation. It is an operation that does not control the arms support to the putschist Haftar and is used arbitrarily to punish the legitimate Libyan government," he said.

Turkey summons envoys

Meanwhile, the envoys of the European Union, Italy and Germany in the Turkish capital Ankara were summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry on Monday over the incident.

Deputy Foreign Minister Onal summoned the ambassadors of the EU and Italy as well as the German charge d'affaires, as the ambassador is away, said a ministry statement.

The statement said Turkey handed them over a diplomatic note, saying: "the incident is against international law and that our rights to compensation are reserved."

Misuse of Irni operation

Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg boarded the Turkish freighter, the Rosaline A, overnight from a helicopter, but had to abandon it after finding nothing but food and paint supplies, sources said, adding that it was heading to the Misrata Port in Libya.

"Following the search that lasted until the early hours of the morning, the soldiers understood that there was nothing on the ship apart from humanitarian aid, foods such as biscuits, and paint materials, and left the ship," a Turkish security source said.

Operation Irini, approved by EU foreign ministers on March 31, aims to operate in the air and sea and with satellites to ensure that all countries respect a ban on providing arms to the parties involved in the Libyan conflict.

Seven countries are participating in Operation Irini, named after the Greek word for peace, including Italy, Greece, France, Germany, Poland, Malta, and Luxembourg, with frigates and maritime patrol aircraft.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies