Turkey seeks life terms for men halting Syria bound arms cargo
Story Code : 471449
The office of the chief public prosecutor in Turkey’s southern province of Tarsus demanded on Friday that the five suspects receive aggravated life sentences in the controversial case in which they were accused of violating the country’s national security laws back in 2014, when they blocked and searched MIT trucks in Adana Province en route to Syria. The trucks were reportedly loaded with arms and ammunition intended for Syria-based Takfiri terrorists.
The indictment for the five was prepared by the provincial prosecutor and forwarded on Friday to the Tarsus Second Criminal Court, calling for an aggravated life imprisonment for Adana’s former chief public prosecutor Suleyman Bagriyanik, prosecutors Ozcan Sisman, Aziz Takci and Ahmet Karaca, and Adana's previous provincial gendarmerie commander Ozkan Cokay, official news outlet Anadolu Agency reported.
The former senior law enforcement authorities were accused last year of "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by using force and violence or attempts to destroy the government's function totally or partly," and "getting intelligence over the politics and security of the state."
The incident triggered a huge controversy in Turkey with many bashing the government for explicitly supporting foreign-backed militants in Syria.
At the time, Turkey's Interior Ministry refuted reports that the MIT trucks were commissioned to supply weapons to anti-Damascus militant groups in northern Syria and claimed that the heavy vehicles were engaged in transporting humanitarian aid to the Turkmen community in the war-ravaged nation.
However, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet recently released photos and footage of the arms, saying they were transferred to Syria in trucks operated by the MIT.
The move angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, “will pay a heavy price” for his reporting. He then personally sued Dündar.
“This newspaper was also involved in this espionage activity. The person who made the story will pay a heavy price. I will not let him get away with it,” the Turkish president said.
Turkey, an outspoken critic of the Syrian government, has been widely accused of supporting the armed terrorists fighting against the Damascus government.