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BBC video exposes Turkish ship carrying arms to Libya: report

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A detailed BBC video has exposed Turkey sending arms to Libya, violating a UN-imposed arms embargo.

In the video the BBC detailed the alleged arms shipment in a ship called the Bana that set sail from the Turkish port of Mersin at around 6 a.m. on Jan 24, Gazete Duvar’s English service reported.

The ship’s stated destination was the Tunisian port of Gabes, the BBC cited one of the sailors on board as saying, adding that the ship vanished from the radar on Jan. 27 when its transponder went off some 400 kilometers off the coast of Libya.

Turkey supports the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and sent dozens of military training personnel after the two countries signed a series of deals.

The GNA has been under sustained attack for months from eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Amid the increasing violence in the country, a conference was held in Berlin to discuss the issue on Jan. 19, where world leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, vowed to stay out of the Libyan conflict.

However, according to the BBC, Turkey broke the agreement just days after the conference.

In the video the BBC included satellite images from Jan. 28, which showed three boats to the northeast of Tripoli, with the one in the center being a boat whose dimensions and color scheme exactly match those of the Bana.

Another image posted from Tripoli on Jan. 29 shows the Bana was escorted by a G-Class military frigate, which is only used by the Turkish navy.

“Clearer satellite imagery taken on the same day completes the picture. It shows the Bana docked at the port of Tripoli,” the BBC said.

According to the BBC, a video posted on Twitter on Jan. 30 that was allegedly filmed in the hold of the Bana shows a series of weapons, including armored combat vehicles, cannons, self-propelled howitzers and an anti-aircraft gun.

The broadcaster then compared the images taken on board the same ship during the same crossing and found that the ship in the video is the same as the one in the images.

“We know it’s the same ship because the configuration of vehicles seen in the images exactly matches that seen in the video,” it said, while also concluding that the ship is the Bana based on the aforementioned images and another taken from the bridge.

“Outside we see one of the G-Class navy frigates that escorted the Bana across the Mediterranean. We can also see that the windows and the railing exactly match those of the Bana,” it said.

Three days after it left Tripoli, the Bana reached the Italian port of Genoa, where a member of the crew told police that the ship had been used to carry arms, the BBC said.

“That claim is confirmed by images taken on board by Italian authorities. One captured a unique pattern of damage left on a ramp. A fingerprint of marks that exactly matches the video filmed when the weapons were still on board,” it added.

It then went on to cite five sailors interviewed by Italian authorities. According the BBC, the sailors confirmed loading arms on the ship.

“They were guarded by 10 Turkish soldiers,” one of the sailors reportedly said.

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