Investigation Uncovers Turkish Arms Smuggling To Islamic State

Questions have arisen in Turkey over allegations that trucks belonging to Turkey’s intelligence service National Intelligence Organization (MİT) have been crossing the Syrian border, transporting arms and ammunition to unidentified parties in Syria. Deputy for the opposition party Republican People’s Party Mahmut Tanal has openly raised questions in a letter to Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk about sightings of three MİT trucks present at Şanlıurfa police department on May 6th being later seen crossing the Syrian border on May 7th. Tanal asked if the trucks were indeed carrying weapons to militant groups.

Prosecutor Ali Doğan stated in court that MİT trucks had made over 2,000 trips from Turkey into Syria, filing a verdict of non-prosecution regarding investigation into the trucks after he was appointed as Adana chief public prosecutor. The mention of 2,000 trucks is similar to an alleged quote from MİT head Hakan Fidan mentioning sending 2,000 trucks with military equipment to Syria in a top secret conversation between Fidan, then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and General of Staff Yaşar Güler in March 2014.

Prosecutor Aziz Takçı was present when several MİT trucks were stopped in the Ceyhan district of the Adana province. Takçı states that he saw copious amounts of munitions, including artillery shells, inside the trucks, but the chief prosecutor of Adana and the governor showed up with hundreds of police and informed Takçı that the trucks belonged to the Turkish intelligence service and were not to be stopped. However, Takçı would check the license plates of the trucks allegedly belonging to MİT. He found out that the trucks belonged to suspects who were affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Of course, it seems to be a common belief among Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party that Al-Qaeda is not a terrorist organization. Another prosecutor, Ahmet Karaca, now under arrest, claimed that an investigation into the trucks’ destination uncovered that the trucks were delivering arms to an Islamic State camp.

Turkey’s aid for Islamic State and other jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq is more or less an open secret at this point. Turkey is a nexus for foreign fighters attempting to sneak into Syria, has released jihadist prisoners into Islamic State territory as part of hostage swaps, has given medical aid to wounded Islamic State fighters, and has supplied Islamic State with arms and supplies, as well as Boko Haram, now calling itself Islamic State West Africa Province.

The recent falling out between President Erdoğan and Islamist thinker Fethullah Gülen over an alleged plot by the Gülen Movement to overthrow the Turkish government revealed that Gülen had extensively wiretapped President Erdoğan and several other top government officials. It is through the leaked audio files that we are aware of the Turkish government’s dealings with Islamic State and other jihadist organizations.