Turkey threatens ‘grave consequences’ after east Libyan forces seize its ship over alleged arms smuggling

Ankara has condemned the seizure of a Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean by forces from east Libya, promising a robust response to the interception and calling for the ship to be allowed to continue its journey.

Turkey threatens ‘grave consequences’ after east Libyan forces seize its ship over alleged arms smuggling

Ankara has condemned the seizure of a Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean by forces from east Libya, promising a robust response to the interception and calling for the ship to be allowed to continue its journey.

“Targeting Turkish interests in Libya will have grave consequences, and these elements (who target Turkish interests) will be viewed as legitimate targets,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry “strongly condemned” the move, stressing that the vessel should be allowed to resume its planned voyage “immediately,” and adding that the ship had been fined and the crew detained.

The Jamaican-flagged cargo ship ‘Mabruka’ was towed to the port of Ras al-Hilal, east of Benghazi, after being intercepted by the Libyan National Army (LNA) on Monday, as it made its way to Libya’s western port of Misrata. 

Footage posted to social media appeared to show LNA soldiers intercepting the ship, which was reportedly seized over fears that it was transporting arms into western Libya.