ANKARA/ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
A truck carrying humanitarian assistance to Syria is inspected by Turkish police at the Cilvegözü border gate. Cihan photo
Police officers who followed and stopped a truck that was allegedly carrying weapons to Syria have been removed from their positions.
The officers, who stopped the truck near the Reyhanlı district in the southern province of Hatay on the border with Syria, were removed from their positions when they were still on the scene upon the prosecutor’s demands.
The truck was followed by a team of police from Hatay’s Terror and Organized Crime Department on a tipoff that it was carrying weapons and ammunition to Syria. It was stopped twice by the police, first near a gendarmerie outpost on the Reyhanlı-Kırıkhan road and again on the Muratpaşa road. The police were prevented from searching the truck’s cargo by an official statement from Gov. Celalettin Lekesiz, who said the cargo was a state secret.
The police officers who stopped the truck on the Kırıkhan road and the separate police officers who stopped the truck near Muratpaşa road were removed from their duties.
Also, several chiefs and deputy chiefs from Hatay’s Terror and Organized Crime Department were relocated after the incident.
In the only official statement with regard to the truck, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Jan. 2 the truck was carrying aid to Turkmens in Syria, but did not give details about its cargo.
Upon being questioned about conflicting reports on the truck, Ala told reporters: “Conflicting reports? There is nothing to do. There are Turkmens there. The aid is for them. Everybody has to know one’s own job.”
The alleged presence of ammunition on the truck, as well as the governor's demands that the truck be allowed to pass, have raised suspicions that the state is pursuing secret links with illegal armed groups.