Turkey slams Germany for taking part in "biased" Irini operation
"Irini is a biased operation ... Germany is the host of the Berlin conference; therefore it needs to be neutral and objective. If it [Germany] takes part in a biased operation, it will lose its impartiality. Therefore, the Berlin conference will no longer have legitimacy," Turkish top diplomat Çavuşoğlu told media outlets in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday criticized Germany for joining a European Union marine mission to supervise the Libyan arms embargo, calling it "a wrong step".
On Tuesday, Germany dispatched a frigate carrying 250 soldiers for a five-month mission as part of the EU's Irini mission to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.
In January, Germany hosted an international conference in Berlin where a number of countries agreed to uphold the weapons embargo. This, however, has been repeatedly violated.
"Irini is a biased operation ... Germany is the host of the Berlin conference; therefore it needs to be neutral and objective," Çavuşoğlu told Turkish state news agency Anadolu in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
"If it [Germany] takes part in a biased operation, it will lose its impartiality. Therefore, the Berlin conference will no longer have legitimacy," said Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu, adding Berlin's involvement has made the situation in Libya "more complicated."
Irini, launched in May, is tasked with preventing the flow of weapons into war-torn Libya as well as gathering information on illegal oil exports from the country and disrupting people smuggling in the region.
Çavuşoğlu, along with his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo, on Thursday held talks with the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. The three discussed the latest developments in the Libya crisis and steps for a political solution, Anadolu reported.
Malta took a "brave" step to step away from Irini," Çavuşoğlu said, arguing some EU officials are against the operation which he said favours the rival eastern Libyan putschist general Khalifa Haftar.
Malta suspended its participation in Irini and withdrew previously pledged military assets for the operation, a Maltese government spokesman told dpa in May.
Haftar is supported by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey and the Tripoli government separately accuse France of sending support to Haftar.
Turkey is the major supporter of Libya's internationally recognized government, which recently pushed back an offensive on Tripoli by Haftar loyalists.
Oil-wealthy Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi. It has since become a battleground for rival proxy forces.