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Turkey accuses EU of 'siding with France' after sanctioning Libya-linked maritime firm

Turkey lashed out at the EU after it sanctioned Turkish firm Avrasya Shipping [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 September, 2020

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The EU made the 'wrong decision' by imposing sanctions on a Turkish firm.

Turkey on Monday rebuked the European Union for making the "wrong decision" after it sanctioned a Turkish firm for allegedly breaching a UN arms embargo on Libya.

The EU froze the assets of Turkish firm Avrasya Shipping, whose cargo vessel Cirkin was involved in a naval incident between NATO members France and Turkey in June. 

The move angered Ankara, which claimed the vessel was carrying humanitarian aid to Libya, not arms as was claimed.

"At a time when efforts are aiming to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, making such a wrong decision is extremely unfortunate," the foreign ministry said in a statement, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

"It has no value in our sight to add our maritime company to the sanctions list," the ministry added.

In addition to imposing sanctions on the Turkish firm, EU foreign ministers sanctioned one Kazakh and one Jordanian company during the Monday meeting in Brussels.

Ankara accused the EU of taking a biased stance and siding with France, which supports Libya's rebel commander Khalifa Haftar, against Turkey, which backs the UN-recognised Libyan government.

"The EU's Irini Operation is rewarding Haftar, and punishing the UN-recognised Libyan Government," Turkey's foreign ministry said, referring to the EU's mission to stop arms from reaching rival factions in Libya.

Read also: UN warns of possible 'war crimes' in Turkish-controlled Syria

Turkey claimed that the UAE, which also backs Haftar, was sending weapons to Libya but faced no retribution from the EU.

"Overlooking those countries and companies, starting with the UAE, that send weapons from land and air to the putschist Haftar in violation of the [United Nations Security Council] decisions, while the support provided to the legitimate government... is deemed an embargo violation, is a clear signal that the EU is... biased," the ministry said late on Monday.

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