The European Union imposed sanctions on Monday on a Turkish shipping company for breaking the United Nations arms embargo on Libya, Reuters said.
The EU froze assets of Avrasya Shipping whose cargo ship, Çirkin, accused of smuggling weapons to Libya and involved in an incident on June 10 in which the French frigate Courbet said it was illuminated by the targeting radar of a Turkish warship escorting a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Courbet was part of NATO’s Sea Guardian operation, which helps provide maritime security in the region. France said it was acting on intelligence from NATO that the Turkish-escorted ship was suspected of trafficking arms to Libya.
“The Çirkin has been linked to transports of military material to Libya in May and June 2020,” Reuters cited the EU’s Official Journal as saying.
Turkey has been denying arms trafficking allegations and said the ship was carrying humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.
The EU has a naval mission to support the U.N. embargo on Libya and the Courbet was part of NATO’s Sea Guardian operation, which helps provide maritime security in the region.
Turkey and France back opposing sides in Libya’s civil war. Turkey is supporting the U.N.-recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in its fight against eastern-based rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which is backed by Russia, Egypt, and France, among others.