ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A Yemeni soldier holding a machine gun stands guard at a street as authorities tighten up security measures in Sana'a, Yemen, 11 December 2012. EPA photo
Arms that were illegally shipped from Turkey to Yemen were replicas of a U.S. model pistol and displayed no references or markings that indicated that they were produced in Turkey, a Turkish official has said. In November, Yemeni officials seized pistols found in biscuit boxes inside a container that had come from Turkey, according to the Yemeni Defense Ministry’s website. There were reportedly 3,000 pistols on the ship.
The ship was subject to customs control at Turkey’s Mersin port and customs authorities were told that its cargo consisted of biscuits and other food items.
Turkey’s Customs and Trade Ministry launched an investigation after Yemeni authorities said they had seized arms on a ship that had departed from Turkey.
Noting that Yemen was undergoing a political transition, Turkish diplomatic sources said foreign parties might have intended to harm Turkey’s relations with country, which were boosted after the Turkish president’s visit to Sanaa in 2011 and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit in 2012.
Exports from Turkey to Yemen totaled nearly $500 million last year. However, illegal arms shipments could influence bilateral trade, said Turkish officials.