mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The Never-ending Libyan Afterparty
Libya Attacks Turkish Ship in International Waters

The Libyan government attacked a Turkish ship yesterday with artillery and air strikes, killing one Turkish national, wounding several, and sending relations between the two countries to new lows. The Wall Street Journal:

Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk has accused Turkey of sending weapons to its Tripoli-based rival and barred Turkish firms from the country. Turkey denies the allegations and has repeatedly pledged its support to a United Nations-led peace effort.

Libyan authorities said they were alarmed when the Turkish-owned cargo ship entered a stretch of water between Tobruk and Derna, not responding to requests from maritime authorities for it to change course.

Libyan officials said the ship’s radio silence led Libya’s military to believe it was carrying weapons into Derna, which Islamic State militants have established as a base to launch attacks on government-allied forces. The city’s commercial port has also been indefinitely closed, opening only sporadically to allow small amounts of fuel imports for power stations. […]

“We strongly denounce this heinous attack toward a civilian ship in international waters and we condemn those who carried out the attack,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the assault on the Tuna-1 is another violation of international law and is the latest example in a series of strikes and threats to disrupt the U.N.-led peace talks to form a unity government.

The New York Times sets the scene for the attack, in case you haven’t been keeping up:

In January, another foreign ship — a Greek-owned oil tanker — was bombed in the same area by forces allied with the internationally recognized government, based in Tobruk and Bayda.

Meanwhile, Libyan extremists have also recently slaughtered groups of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians, gunned down foreigners in a luxury hotel in Tripoli, and claimed responsibility for several attacks on foreign embassies.

The humanitarian war in Libya just keeps yielding more excitement. How fortunate the United States is to have its foreign policy guided by such a steady hand, how blessed it is to be led by an administration of such breathtakingly clear, unclouded vision.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jon Robbins

    So when Iran stops a cargo ship based on a court-ordered warrant for debt repayment in Iranian waters, TAI goes ballistic. It fails, at first, even to acknowledge the legal basis of the Iranian move, then grudgingly concedes that it might have been something other than mere piracy.

    But when a US-backed government ends up killing a Turkish seaman on a ship in its waters, all TAI can say is that the fiasco we helped create in Libya “just keeps yielding more excitement.” It’s all kinda humourous, don’t you know. TAI criticizes Obama for his policy without bringing up the key points that (1) It was illegal in the first place and that (2) The interventionist impulse and its disastrous results obviously did not begin with Obama and will certainly not be end when he departs in 20 months. That’s because TAI likes interventionist policy and wants to lump the failures at Obama’s door while keeping the basis for the policy intact.

  • gabrielsyme

    Turkey was almost certainly doing exactly what the Libyan government thought they were doing. My sympathy is non-existent, as even if the Turkish ship was in international waters, such a status does not afford it protection from attack when it is supplying weapons to a war zone.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service