Turkey’s European Future? – Ankara Calls on EU for Dialogue While Slamming Operation Irini as ‚Biased‘

Written by | Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Turkey has protested against ‘unauthorised action, carried out using force’ hours after Ankara accused on Monday (23 November) the German navy of conducting an “unauthorised” search on the Roseline A freighter, as Germany says everything went in line with protocol. Ankara has summoned the European Union, German and Italian envoys to Turkey to protest against a German attempt to search a Libya-bound, Turkish-flagged commercial ship, according to the foreign ministry. It claims the action on Sunday southwest of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula violated international law as no permission had been granted to search the vessel in international waters. Acting within the Framework of the EU’s Operation Irini, tasked with enforcing a United Nations arms embargo on war-torn Libya, the soldiers from the frigate Hamburg had boarded the vessel but had to abandon checks and withdraw after Turkey protested to the EU mission, which had ordered the search, the German defence ministry said. “Everything went exactly according to protocol,” a German foreign ministry spokeswoman said, adding that nothing suspicious had been found by the time the soldiers were ordered off the ship.
Turkey, which backs Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, views Operation Irini on as biased. “Operation IRINI, conducted by the EU, is an operation the purpose and benefits of which are questionable,” Turkey’s Mission to the EU said in a written statement to the media. “The neutrality of Operation IRINI, which the EU launched without consulting neither the legitimate Government of Libya nor Turkey and NATO, is already in dispute. That being the case, this double-standard and unlawful treatment of vessels engaged in transportation from Turkey to Libya can never be accepted.” However, European diplomats and officials stated in June that Turkey was blocking EU attempts to secure NATO’s help for the operation, to whom the EU had made efforts to coordinate with. This latest incident came amid rising tensions between the EU and Turkey. The bloc’s foreign policy chief has warned that ties are reaching a “watershed moment” over Turkish oil prospecting in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus, warning Ankara that sanctions could be imposed next month.
Meanwhile, Turkish president has called on the EU for dialogue, warning the bloc not to become a “tool for enmities” during escalating tensions over the Eastern Mediterranean. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message comes as EU leaders consider imposing further sanctions on Turkey over Eastern Mediterranean dispute, on top of those already in place that were early this month extended for another year. The measures included allowing visa bans and asset freezes against individuals involved in contested gas exploration in the Mediterranean. “We expect the EU to keep its promises, not to discriminate against us or at least not to become a tool to open enmities targeting our country,” Erdogan said in a video address to his ruling party congress on Saturday (21 November). “We don’t see ourselves elsewhere but in Europe,” he added. “We envisage building our future together with Europe.”

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