BERLIN (AA) - Germany on Tuesday defended an “unauthorized” search operation on a Turkish commercial ship off the Libyan coast which drew strong condemnations from Ankara.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said during the search of the Libyan-bound ship on Sunday, the German navy acted in line with the mandate of the EU mission to enforce the arms embargo on Libya.
“The German soldiers behaved totally correctly, they did what is required of them with the mandate of the EU’s Operation Irini,” she said.
Turkey on Monday strongly condemned the operation, stressing that it was a clear violation of international law, as Ankara did not give permission for a search of the Turkish-flagged ship, which was in international waters.
Video footage that surfaced from the incident showed heavily armed German soldiers boarding the cargo ship Roseline A from a helicopter and arresting some of the crew members with their hands tied behind their backs.
The Operation Irini mission, which is currently under the command of a Greek naval officer, confirmed on Monday that searches of the ship found “no evidence of illicit material.”