TURKISH SOLDIERS stand guard on the border with Syria; the country faces threats from the Syrian Civil War..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Islamic State fighter currently under trial in a Turkish high criminal court has implicated Turkey's state intelligence service in the willful transfer of weapons and military hardware to the jihadist group fighting in Syria, Today's Zaman reported on Monday.
Mehmet Askar, who was detained together with another 11 suspects belonging to Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and the moderate Free Syrian Army, revealed that in 2011 a planned transfer of arms was hampered by the capture of key border town by the Syrian army, blocking the route often used to infiltrate the war-torn Arab country.
Askar's accomplice, Haisam Toubalijeh, also known as Keysem Topalca, who was involved in a weapons transfer thwarted in 2013 by Turkish forces, reassured him that contacts inside MIT, Turkey's intelligence organization, would help facilitate the movement of the cache, which included some 100 NATO rifles across the border.
“Topalca and the gendarmes made some telephone calls that I couldn't hear. Without any checks on my vehicle, which was loaded with arms, we were taken to the border with a military escort,” Aşkar said.
Turkey's espionage service has not been a stranger to controversy in the past. On January 19, 2014, a prosecutor in the southern border city of Adana ordered border police to halt trucks crossing into Syria on suspicions that the vehicles were carrying illicit weapons. Ankara swiftly removed the prosecutor from his post and shut down any further investigation of the goings on.