Lawmaker asks gov’t over claims of illegal arms shipment to Syria
TODAY'S ZAMAN- ISTANBUL
A senior opposition deputy has asked about allegations that three new trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) carried arms to opposition groups in Syria last week.
In a written parliamentary question to Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal questioned the allegations that three MİT trucks, loaded with arms and ammunition and parked in the courtyard of the Şanlıurfa Police Department's building on the evening of May 6, set off through the Akçakale border gate in the direction of Syria on the morning of May 7. Tanal also mentioned the tight security measures surrounding the trucks and the different license plates placed on the front and back ends of the trucks.
The CHP deputy asked about the content of the trucks parked in the courtyard of the police department in the evening hours on May 6 and questioned why the front and back plates of the trucks were different.
Tanal also inquired about if the trucks were going to Syria and asked what kind of materials they were carrying, and to whom these materials would be delivered. Allegations of the trucks belonging to MİT, the tight security measures surrounding them, and if the trucks carried arms and ammunition were also among the questions directed to Öztürk.
Last year, a number of trucks which were found to belong to MİT were stopped by gendarmes in two separate incidents in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana, after prosecutors received tip-offs that they were carrying arms to Syria.
Although the government has claimed that the trucks were transporting humanitarian aid to the Turkmen community in Syria, opposition voices have continued to question why, if the operation was within the law, the minister and local authorities stepped in to prevent the trucks from being searched.
Four former prosecutors and an ex-gendarme were imprisoned after a court ordered their arrest due to their role in the search of trucks allegedly carrying weapons to rebel groups in Syria, a move that came shortly after government figures, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accused the officials of "treason."
Former Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca, Adana Prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman and former Adana provincial gendarmerie commander Col. Özkan Çokay were arrested on Thursday on charges of "attempting to topple or incapacitate the Turkish government through the use of force or coercion and exposing information regarding the security and political activities of the state."
A prosecutor who has been appointed Adana chief public prosecutor reportedly told the lawyer of one of the fired prosecutors in a court hearing that tucks carrying weapons made 2,000 trips to Syria. The spy agency owned the trucks.