Turkey has protested 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.
Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg, 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.
Germany’s Defense Ministry said Turkey ordered a halt to the search, forcing the German personnel to depart before completing their work.
During their search, the German team had found no cargo that contravened the arms embargo, German Defense Ministry spokesman Christian Thiels told reporters in Berlin.
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally country enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the German warship’s personnel conducted the search despite the captain’s statements about what his ship was carrying.
A senior official said the German team terminated its search aboard the Rosaline-A around dawn after “understanding that there was nothing but humanitarian aid, biscuits and other material such as paints on board.