Duvar English - Reuters
Turkey protested to Germany and the EU on Nov. 23 after German forces belonging to an EU military mission boarded and tried to search a Turkish cargo ship that they suspected of taking weapons to Libya illegally.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the EU, German and Italian ambassadors with regards to the incident. "The incident of embarking and inspecting our merchant ship Roseline A, which was within the framework of Operation Irini, without the permission of our country, was protested and the relevant countries were given a note," said the ministry.
Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg, part of an EU mission enforcing a U.N. arms embargo, boarded the Roseline A overnight but withdrew after Turkey raised objections with the EU mission, which had ordered the search, the German Defence Ministry said.
Ankara said the Rosalina A was carrying various materials such as food and paint, and that the search team had violated international law by not waiting for permission from Turkey.
It said the soldiers had found nothing despite spending the entire night opening containers on the ship.
"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 source said.
Turkey released footage showing armed men in military uniform marshalling sailors with their hands on their heads on the bridge of what it said was the Roseline A, at sea southwest of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the Roseline's captain had shared information with the Hamburg about his ship's freight and its course.
"Despite this, at 17:45, armed forces from the Irini Operation boarded the ship and carried out a 'monitoring' that lasted long hours," he said.
"We protest this act, which was carried out by force and without authorisation (and) retain the right to seek compensation."
But Germany said that, after four hours had passed with no reply to a request to board, it was standard practice to consider this as implicit permission. "All procedures were followed correctly," a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
The German Defence Ministry said the soldiers had not found anything suspicious by the time they were ordered off the ship.
Main opposition CHP says Germany, EU should issue apology to Turkey
Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has also protested German forces' attempt to search the Turkish ship saying that Germany and the EU should issue an apology to Turkey.
“This is a very calamitous development. No one can aboard a state's ship on the international waters unless that state has given the permission. It is a merchant ship. Whap happened to liberty of trade? What Germany and the EU have done is against the law. They should apologize from Turkey,” CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak said on Nov. 23.
The 16,000-tonne container ship left the Turkish port of Gemlik near Bursa last week and was last seen off Athens, heading southwest towards Libya, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
The incident comes at a time of friction between Turkey and the European Union. The EU's foreign policy chief has said ties are reaching a "watershed moment" over Turkish oil prospecting in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus, and that sanctions could be imposed next month.
Turkey is backing the internationally recognised government in Libya in its fight against Russian- and Egyptian-backed rebels in the east.