Turkish arms factory manager remanded for selling state secrets
DHA photoThe head of the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation’s (MKE) weapons factory, Mustafa Tanrıverdi, was arrested on April 7 in Ankara after allegedly trying to sell weapon designs to a U.S. company.
Tanrıverdi was arrested on charges of receiving bribes, exploiting state secrets and disloyalty to state services, after a notice that came from a weapons trader businessman, identified only as K.K., according to daily Hürriyet.
Tanrıverdi allegedly tried to sell the design and production plans of the MKE-patented MP-5 weapon and the newly produced domestic infantry rifle MPT-76 to K.K., who is a U.S. company official, for $200,000 and $300,000, respectively.
Tanrıverdi was detained on April 6 at a restaurant in Ankara’s Söğütözü district and was referred to the court on duty after the testimony he gave in the Ankara courthouse.
“I’ve made a mistake in this incident. I know what I’ve done and I regret it,” said Tanrıverdi in his testimony, while claiming that the information that he allegedly gave to K.K. doesn’t qualify as state secret, according to reports.
“I know the person named K.K. for almost a year and a half. I know that he does weapons trade legally and will set up a weapons factory for civilians in the U.S. I’ve sold 10,000 civilian versions of MP-5, G-3 and similar weapons to these to this person legally. He wanted the design and other information on MPT-76 and MP-5 rifles from me. He told me that he will set up a weapons factory in the U.S. and he wanted to use my experience. I’ve made a mistake and believed what he told me.”
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office began investigating Tanrıverdi after K.K. contacted them and reported state secrets were being sold from the MKE Weapons Factory, Anadolu Agency reported.
The police then monitored Tanrıverdi’s house and office for 24 hours a day, installed cameras and bugged the restaurant that the alleged transaction took place, after they received reports that the U.S. official and Tanrıverdi had decided to meet there.
Search and confiscation processes were carried out at Tanrıverdi’s house and office in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale after he was arrested, according to reports.
The investigation into the case was ongoing.
Built as a prototype under the name of Mehmetçik-1 in 2008, the first rifle received negative feedback and was consequently redesigned.
The MPT-76 is composed of around 200 parts, all of which are currently produced. It is expected to replace the Heckler & Koch G3 battle rifles in the military.
The gun has a shooting range of 400 meters, weighs 4.3 kilograms and runs 88 centimeters in length. It also has a 7.62-millimeter caliber that was designed for all altitude, weather and terrain conditions.
The first batches of the MPT-76 were delivered to the army in 2014. The factory is also expected to deliver a total of 500 MPT-76 rifles to the Turkish Armed Forces in 2016.
The MPT-76 has also seen demand from countries including the United States, Chile and Azerbaijan.
The rifle passed 42 NATO tests, becoming the first rifle to pass the test without a mistake.