For more than a year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey has given massive support to the GNA, the government of Libyan national unity which militarily opposes Marshal Haftar's National Liberation Army (see our two-part dossier on Turkish involvement in Libya). In a few months, the human and material reinforcements conveyed by Turkey and Qatar succeeded in reversing the tactical situation in the region of Tripoli, hitherto besieged by the ANL and its allies. In recent weeks, however, Turkish support for the GNA has pushed Ankara into playing a particularly dangerous game vis-à-vis the European Union and NATO, which the navies seek to enforce. several UN decisions aimed at preventing the illegal import of arms into Libya.
However, since the end of May, French and Greek ships under the EU and NATO flags have been prevented from carrying out their maritime control missions by Turkish frigates also displaying NATO codes! On June 10, the French frigate Courbet was even illuminated by Turkish guidance radars, what Paris usually considers an act of war . An explosive, unprecedented situation between members of the same alliance, which isolates Ankara a little more and threatens the integrity of NATO, against a backdrop of dangerous wait-and-see action on the part of Europe.
The strange journeys of the Çirkin cargo ship
Tensions between the Turkish Navy and several European navies in the Mediterranean Sea all revolve around strange back and forth from the Tanzanian-registered cargo Çirkin. Built in 1980, the Çirkin is a 103m long Ro-Ro ship capable of transporting a load of around 6000 tonnes of vehicles or equipment. Registered in Tanzania , the ship has been making several trips between Turkish ports and North Africa for several months. While it is still supposed to be heading to Tunisia, the Çirkin is systematically routed toward Libya, and more precisely in Misrata, in the stronghold of the GNA. Even better, the vessel generally cuts off its AIS identification system, and has been escorted for several weeks by Turkish combat ships and fighter planes, including in violation of Greek airspace.
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