A Turkish vessel suspected of carrying weapons to Libya, in violation of the UN arms embargo, has been seen in the Mediterranean, according to Greek defense sources.
According to a report published by “GreekReporter” on Wednesday, the vessel was shadowed by a Greek Navy frigate that is taking part in Operation IRINI.
IRINI is a naval operation launched by the European Union that aims to implement and enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.
According to sources, the Greek frigate (HS Spetasi) sent out a signal to the Turkish vessel, which was accompanied by two Turkish frigates.
The vessel did not respond and a Greek Navy helicopter flew over to ask permission to inspect the cargo.
The report quoted Nigar Goksel, the Country Director for Turkey at the International Crisis Group, as saying “Turkey’s main motivation has been to prevent Libya from falling under the sway of Egypt and the UAE. This would have been a blow to Ankara’s geostrategic and economic interests, not only in Libya itself, but also in the East Mediterranean.”
Turkey, which supports the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), has transferred thousands of foreign fighters to Libya since January. Its military involvement has been strongly condemned by Egypt, UAE, Greece, Cyprus and France.