Under a cloudy sky, the German marines rappelled out of a helicopter onto the deck of a Turkish cargo ship in the Mediterranean. Dressed in tactical gear, they fanned out across the ship, detaining the crew and searching the cargo for weapons they believed were being smuggled to Libya.
They found nothing before stopping the search in response to Turkish official protests. But the episode last Sunday – captured in a video published by the Turkish ministry of defence – has infuriated the government in Ankara and added to tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
“This is a political operation, not a legal operation,” said Cem Gurdeniz, a retired two-star rear admiral in the Turkish navy. “The honour of the Turkish flag is damaged. Therefore I