ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
A shipment of 781 shotguns seized in Italy’s northern city of Trieste on Nov. 27 was in fact legal and en route to Belgium from Turkey, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said on Nov. 28.
Bilgiç said the importer of the guns, a Belgian company, had breached shipment authorizations.
“Some news agencies reported that a Dutch-registered truck driven by a Turkish citizen had been shipping 800 unregistered pump-action shotguns from Turkey to Belgium and the Italian authorities seized the shotguns in Italy’s Trieste port. However, the shipment in question was a legal export of 781 pump-action Winchester shotguns from Turkey to the Belgian importer,” Bilgiç said.
Arriving in Trieste Port by sea, the truck was en route to Belgium over land and the Belgian importer company was supposed to have acquired authorization papers from the countries the vehicle would be crossing, Bilgiç emphasized.
He went on to say the company was missing authorization documents required by Italy.
Controls at Italian ports have been stepped up in the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris
terror attacks, where 130 people were killed in multiple gun attacks and bombings.
The EU interior ministers’ meeting in Brussels last week agreed to tighten security and share more information on the gun trade to prevent trafficking of illegal weapons.