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German mission searches Libya-bound Turkish ship, sparking backlash from Ankara

German forces intercepted a Libya-bound Turkish ship suspected of carrying arms, sparking the latest row between an EU member state and Ankara ahead of a key summit assessing bilateral ties next month.
Germany's Sachsen class air-defense frigate "Hamburg" crosses the Suez Canal waterway near Egypts's port city of Ismailia, east of Cairo, on June 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/STR        (Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — A German naval mission intercepted a Turkish ship in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday on suspicion it was violating an arms embargo on Libya. After a more than 15-hour search, Ankara ordered the operation be halted, preventing German personnel from completing their investigation, according to German officials.

The incident sparked backlash from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, which in a statement Monday called the search “unlawful,” further straining EU-Turkey relations at a time when bilateral ties are in the spotlight ahead of a key European Council summit on Dec. 10 during which member states are expected to review possible sanctions on Ankara.

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