Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters at the Turkish parliament in the capital Ankara Tuesday that European Union’s Operation IRINI was stillborn, saying “it has lacked a solid basis in terms of international law since the beginning”.
Operation IRINI’s implementation has been problematic since the beginning, Akar said, adding that the EU should have asked Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord for permission before launching the operation this March.
He said, commenting on the German inspection of a Turkish vessel en route to Libya, that the statements of Ankara’s allies don’t reflect the facts and some are flawed.
Under EU’s Operation IRINI, a German frigate on Sunday illegally stopped and searched a private Turkish-flagged ship carrying humanitarian aid to Libya, drawing condemnations from Turkish leaders, while Germany’s Defense Ministry later said its teams had found nothing fishy on the Turkish vessel.
Meanwhile, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay described EU’s Operation IRINI as “biased” and aimed to “punish GNA in Libya”, condemning the illegal German inspection of the Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean.
Oktay added on Twitter that EU’s Operation IRINI doesn’t monitor and inspect the military and arms’ support sent to Khalifa Haftar and his forces but rather aims to punish the legitimate GNA in the country.