Turkish naval vessels spotted between Crete and Libya - Kathimerini

Six Turkish navy frigates and an oil tanker have been spotted between the Greek island of Crete and Libya, in an area secured for naval exercises, Greek newpaper Kathimerini reported.

The number of Turkish military vessels in the area exceed “European Union vessels taking part in Operation Irini off the coast of Libya” it said, referring to an EU naval operation to enforce the United Nations arms embargo on the war-torn North African country.

Turkey has provided military support to Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in a conflict with the Libyan National Army. The LNA, led by General Khalifa Haftar, is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

In November, Turkey and the U.N.-recognised GNA signed a maritime agreement ignoring territorial waters around the divided island of Cyprus and a number of Greek islands. A consortium of countries seeking to build an offshore pipeline to supply Europe with natural gas across those waters have called the memorandum illegal.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay on Saturday reiterated Ankara’s support for the GNA and said Turkey would not allow any ambiguity in the Mediterranean.