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Turkey officially protests against the interception of one of its merchant ships by Operation Irini (v3)

(B2) The tone is rising in Ankara. The case of Roseline A takes a very political turn

The European, German and Italian plenipotentiaries summoned to Turkish foreign affairs (credit: MAE Turkey)

Official protest

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs thus summoned the European, Italian and German ambassadors on Monday (23.11) to deliver an official note of protest to them after the boarding by the German frigate Hamburg as part of the Irini operation of this merchant ship MV Roseline A (read : Turco-Germanic mayhem in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara opposes the control of one of its ships (v2)). " An unauthorized and forced act ", according to him.

A ship carrying paint and humanitarian goods!

According to the Turkish authorities, in fact, the Mr. V. Roseline A, only transported paint, paint-related materials and humanitarian aid goods ". The captain of the ship cooperated and shared detailed information about the ship's cargo and its route ". " Nevertheless, at 17:45 p.m., armed elements of Operation Irini boarded the ship and carried out a long 'inspection' lasting hours. »

Robust methods

All crew members, including the captain, were forcibly searched, rounded up and confined in one place, the containers were forcibly searched, while the captain was taken into the custody of an armed military ". An intervention " carried out without the consent of either Turkey, as the flag State, or the master of the vessel ". The intervention would have lasted until after midnight " according to communicated of Turkish diplomacy, and only ended over persistent objections from Turkey ". The armed personnel remained on board and left the merchant ship at 9:38 a.m.

The consent of the flag State

And Turkey to announce that it reserves the right to request a " compensation of the natural and legal persons concerned for the damages and losses that may result from this act ". The consent of the flag State before interfering with merchant vessels in international waters is necessary, the statement continues. " The United Nations Security Council resolutions on the arms embargo on Libya do not eliminate this obligation. »

An operation launched without the backing of Turkey and NATO

Incidentally, the Turks dispute - it is common - the " neutrality of Operation Irini », with a new argument this time. The EU would have it “ launched without consulting the legitimate government of Libya, Turkey or NATO ».

Comments : we can have some doubts about the lessons of international law from a country which has not signed the Montego Bay Convention and has repeatedly violated the resolutions of the UN Security Council (notably on Cyprus). His version of the facts is to be considered. But it does not seem to correspond entirely to that given by both the European and German authorities (read our updated paper, Turco-Germanic mayhem in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara opposes the control of one of its ships). As for the last argument, on the Irini operation, we are there in a joyful delirium. Taking place on the high seas, on the basis (and the injunction) of a United Nations Security Council resolution, the European Union does not have to seek the consent of Libya and even less of Turkey or NATO. Ankara seems to behave in this case as in charge of a protectorate over Libya. A lure from another era.


Investigation opened by the prosecutor

Turkish justice opened an investigation into the boarding on Friday (27.11). A search conducted without permission from Turkey and against international regulations says the Ankara prosecutor's office in a brief statement, according to the pro-government daily Daily Sabah.

More: See some footage of the interception (via Reuters)

Updated: addition of the comment on the Turkish position + box on the opening of an investigation by the Turkish prosecutor

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).