Turkey sends weapons and armoured vehicles to Tripoli; evidence posted by Samoud brigade – Al Marsad

Libya, 18 May 2019 – A shipment of Turkish weapons and armoured vehicles have been unleaded at Tripoli port of Tripoli. They arrived today, Saturday, on board a Moldovan-flagged ro-ro vessel, the Amazon. The delivery is illegal under the terms of the UN sanctions on Libya.

Evidence – photos and videos – of the 40 or so armoured vehicles being unloaded was posted by the hardline Samoud Brigade led by Misratan militant Salah Badi on its Facebook page today. The vehicles have been rushed to Tripoli by Ankara in the hope of making a difference on the ground in the fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the various forces supporting Faiez Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

According to the shipping website marinetraffic.com, the Amazon sailed from the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun on 9 May.  According to myshiptracking.com, though, it then arrived in Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Izmnir on 14 May and left 14 hours later on 15 May, arriving in Tripoli just before 8am this morning.

The armoured vehicles unloaded include the Kirpi (Turkish for “Hedgehog”), a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle built in by the joint Turkish-Qatari vehicle manufacturer BMC, which is based in Samsun.

BMC was sold in 2014 to the Qatar Armed Forces Industry Committee and Turkish businessman Ethem Sancak, a member of the governing body of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and said to be one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s closest confidantes.

The BMC is to start making Turkey’s new battle tank, the Altay.  It won the Turkish government’s contract in April last year to produce it and in a controversial develioment last December was handed the country’s national tank factory by the government for a 25-year period.In March it was reported that Qatar had ordered 100 of them.

According to the Turkish opposition Nordic Monitor report, there have been rumours that Erdogan is the real owner of BMC, and that Sanjak “ is merely a caretaker looking after the Turkish president’s business interests”.

In January, Erdogan declared that Turkish-Qatari cooperation would “continue to strengthen” when he officially launched Turkey’s first home-grown motor engine production unit at the new $180-million BMC plant in Karasu in north-western Turkey.

The engine are for military vehicles.