Controversy on Yemen arms widens

Controversy on Yemen arms widens

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Controversy on Yemen arms widens

Faruk Loğoğlu. AA Photo

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) has demanded the government clarify the circumstances surrounding Yemen’s seizure of weapons originating in Turkey after the latter’s Foreign Ministry admitted that the arms did come from the country.

“The government should make a satisfactory statement which shows that Turkey has abided by international law and legitimacy, that it doesn’t interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and particularly that it definitely doesn’t allow arms smuggling. It should also satisfy the Yemeni authorities,” CHP Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu said yesterday. A failure by Turkey to clear up the matter would seriously damage its reputation, Loğoğlu said.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry announced that Turkey had not authorized the shipment of weapons that authorities in Yemen seized over the weekend.

“We have certainly not authorized such a shipment of weapons. It is not thinkable to approve such arms exports to countries where conflict risks are high and where it could result in more deaths,” spokesperson Selçuk Ünal said late Nov. 5 in response to a journalist’s question.

The weapons, seized in the port of Aden on Nov. 3, were concealed in biscuit boxes found in a container sent by a Turkish company, the ministry said, citing information provided by Yemeni authorities.“Turkey will continue to support the security and stability needed for Yemen’s reconciliation process in various ways and will firmly oppose any initiative that could negatively affect this process,” Ünal said, adding that an investigation had been launched.

Yemen is already awash with weapons. The impoverished southern Arabian Peninsula nation is prey to attacks in the east and south blamed on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which have become more frequent in the wake of a 2011 popular uprising that forced out veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.