Brussels (dpa) – The container ship from Turkey, piloted by German soldiers in the Mediterranean, has long been suspected of serving for illegal arms deliveries to the civil war country of Libya.
As one of the secret EU documents available to the DPA shows, a special report for United Nations arms embargo experts has already been written on the cargo ship. According to information from EU circles, it was based on educational outcomes.
The inspection of the Turkish ship by the German armed forces took place on Sunday as part of EU Operation Irini and sparked severe criticism from the Ankara government. Turkey considered the operation illegal and accused Germany and the EU of unauthorized use of force.
On the other hand, the command and control team said there were ample reasons to believe that the controlled vessel could violate the UN arms embargo on Libya. The German soldiers acted in a very professional manner and inspected the ship according to internationally agreed procedures that are common in NATO.
It is still unclear whether the freighter “Roseline A” actually carried weapons or other prohibited goods. The Bundeswehr had to stop the search of the ship prematurely because Turkey, as a flag state, officially protested the operation. A search of ships against the resistance of the crew and the flag state is currently not possible during the EU operation Irini. One reason for this is that the special forces needed for such dangerous missions are not yet available.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ship had loaded paint materials and relief supplies. However, this is questioned. “The Turkish government must answer the question of why it is against an overhaul of the cargo ship if it is supposedly not used for smuggling drones and other military equipment,” said Dpa Bundestag member Andrej Hunko (left). The rumble from Ankara only allows the conclusion that something should be hidden there.
At the same time, the European political spokesman for the left group reaffirmed his fundamental rejection of the EU military operation. According to Hunko, this makes itself vulnerable because it unilaterally controls mainly the arms trade for the benefit of the government in Tripoli.
The secret document available to the dpa is the first half-yearly balance sheet of the EU mission. It also points out that participating EU countries did not support the operation to the extent planned from April to the end of September. The number of ships available was always below the minimum requirements. In addition, the Italian flagship “ITS Margottini” had to be taken out of service ahead of schedule on September 26 after approximately 80 corona cases on board.
Operation Irini was decided at the end of March. The mission’s objectives are to stabilize Libya, a civil war country in North Africa, and to support the UN-led political peace process. In addition to arms smuggling, the mission is also intended to prevent oil and fuel smuggling. Germany is currently participating with the frigate “Hamburg”.