Intel trucks’ content no one's business, says PM
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addresses his supporters during an election rally for Turkey's June 7 parliamentary elections in Ankara, Turkey, May 30, 2015. Reuters PhotoQuestioning the content of trucks that were stopped by the gendarmerie while carrying “logistical assistance to Turkmens” in Syria last year was nobody’s business, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, drawing attention to the timing of publications accusing Turkey of delivering weapons to rebel groups in the neighboring country.
“Why do they reveal these things after so many times: to depict the AK Party [Justice and Development Party] as a party supporting terrorist groups before the elections? This is manipulation. What do [the trucks] contain? Its content is nobody’s business but its destination and objectives,” Davutoğlu told private broadcaster Habertürk in an interview on May 31.
Daily Cumhuriyet published video footage of mortar shells, grenade launchers and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition stashed under boxes containing antibiotics and marked “fragile” on May 29. The footage was from a search of trucks conducted by local security forces in January 2014 in southern Turkey near the Syrian border on suspicion that they were smuggling arms into Syria. During the search, the gendarmerie found personnel of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) on board.
Davutoğlu said the trucks were carrying logistical support to Turkmens who were suffering from President Bashar al-Assad’s army’s assaults, adding that if Turkey had not supported them, an additional 500,000 refugees would have fled to Turkey. Calling the issue a “state secret,” Davutoğlu said he instructed Turkish institutions to carefully look after Turkmens in Syria against the al-Assad government.
Reiterating that Turkey would not stay indifferent to the regional developments in its region, Davutoğlu said they would not tolerate those trying to launch a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena.
“The necessary response will be given to this. There is no account Turkey cannot give. Turkey has never supported terrorist organizations anywhere, anyhow. It has not even a little stain on its record,” he said.
Prosecutors have opened up an anti-terrorism investigation into Cumhuriyet over its publication.