A frigate from the Greek Navy which is taking part in the EU naval mission off the coast of Africa is currently shadowing a Turkish vessel suspected of carrying weapons to Libya, violating the UN-imposed arms embargo to the civil war- torn country.
According to Greek defense sources, the HS Spetsai, which is participating in “Operation Irini” together with other European Union vessels, sent out a signal to the Turkish vessel, which is 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 request was denied by the Turkish frigates sailing nearby.
Turkey, which supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), has sent dozens of military training personnel after the two countries signed a series of deals.
Experts say Erdogan hopes to shape a Libya that can preserve Turkey’s political and economic dominance in the region.
“Turkey’s main motivation has been to prevent Libya from falling under the sway of Egypt and (the) UAE, which would have been a blow to Ankara’s geostrategic and economic interests not only in Libya itself but also in the East Mediterranean,” Nigar Goksel, the director of the Turkish sector of the International Crisis Group, told VOA.
Since officially joining the war in January, Turkey has deployed its own military forces, allegedly along with Syrian militias, to Libya. Despite the strict arms embargo imposed on Libya by the United Nations, Ankara has also supplied drones and air defense to the UN-recognized GNA.
Its military involvement has been strongly condemned by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Greece, Cyprus and France.