The German defense minister rejects Turkey’s complaint over the investigation

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints in the Mediterranean about a Turkish cargo ship searched by a German frigate on a European mission and insisted that German sailors do the right thing.

Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to call on diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy to claim that the Libyan cargo ship Rosaline-A was under “illegal” search by German frigate staff in Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s naval mission in Irini, which is carrying out an arms embargo against Libya.

German officials say he received the order to board the ship from Irini’s Roman headquarters and Turkey objected aboard the team. Then the search is complete.

According to Turkey, the search was “carried out without permission and by force”.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer supported the action of the German crew.

“It’s important to me to make it clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved absolutely right,” he said during his appearance in Berlin. “They did what they were asked to do under the European Irini mandate.”

“This discussion with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added without elaboration. “But it’s very important for me to make it clear that there is no reason for the accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”

This was the second incident between Turkey and a naval force carrying out an armed blockade against Libya by a NATO ally.

In June, NATO launched an investigation between Turkish warships and a French naval ship in the Mediterranean after France said one of its frigates was “illuminated” three times by Turkish naval radar as it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship. suspected of involvement in the arms trade.

Turkey supports the UN-backed Tripoli government against rival forces in the east of the country. He complained that the EU naval operation focused too much on the Tripoli administration and turned a blind eye to the weapons sent to East-centered forces.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Ankara said Irini was “wrong from the start”.

“It doesn’t rest on solid international legal foundations,” Akar said. He reiterated Turkey’s criticism of the actions of the German ship.

“The case was contrary to international law and practice. It was wrong, ”he said.

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement that Irini had “made a good faith effort” to get Turkey to contribute to the research, with a four-hour notice period for its foreign ministry, in line with international maritime practice.

He said that Irini had agreed to extend this notice for another hour at the request of the Turkish embassy in Rome and that boarding would continue after no reply was received.

“The boarding team acted with the highest level of professionalism and no event was registered during the action,” Stano said. No evidence of “prohibited material” was found when the search was stopped.

Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey remains an important partner for us in NATO”. Turkey’s fall outside the military alliance makes the situation even more difficult, he said, and Turkish soldiers are “fully reliable partners” in NATO missions.

However, he acknowledged that Turkey faces a “major challenge” because of the development of its domestic policy and because it has “its own agenda, which is particularly difficult to reconcile with European issues”.


Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to the report.