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Turkey summons EU, Germany, Italy envoys after Libya-bound ship searched

AT SEA - NOVEMBER 23: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - "MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENCE OF TURKEY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) A screen grab captured from a video shows a German frigate serving under a Greek-commanded EU naval mission conducted an hours-long and illegal search on a Turkish cargo ship carrying humanitarian supplies in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to war-torn Libya, on November 23, 2020. The search reportedly violated international law, which requires a party to obtain the consent of a ship's flag state before searching a vessel, according to the law of the sea. ( TUR National Defence Ministry - Anadolu Agency )
A screen grab captured from a video shows a German frigate serving under a Greek-commanded EU naval mission conducted an hours-long and illegal search on a Turkish cargo ship carrying humanitarian supplies in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to war-torn Libya, on November 23, 2020 [TUR National Defence Ministry - Anadolu Agency]

Turkey summoned the envoys of the European Union, Germany and Italy to protest against a German attempt to search a Libya-bound, Turkish-flagged commercial ship, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

In a written statement, the ministry said it was protesting against "this unauthorised action, which was carried out using force".

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: "The captain showed cooperation and shared information about the 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."

"We protest this act, which was carried out by force and without authorisation [and] retain the right to seek compensation," he said.

The incident came amid rising tensions between Turkey and the EU on Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterreanean. The EU's foreign policy chief has warned that ties are reaching a critical moment, adding that sanctions could be imposed next month.

Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Turkey to stop provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean or face potential EU sanctions.

READ: Germany angers Turkey with attempt to police Libya arms embargo

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