3 senior commanders detained over stopping of MİT trucks, reports say
According to Turkish media reports, Ankara Gendarmerie Regional Commander Maj. Gen. İbrahim Aydın and former Adana Gendarmerie Regional Commander Brig. Gen. Hamza Celepoğlu and former Gendarmerie Criminal Laboratory head, retired Col. Burhanettin Cihangiroğlu, were detained on Saturday.
In January 2014, gendarmes stopped three Syria-bound trucks in the southern provinces of Adana and Hatay, after prosecutors received tip-offs that the vehicles were illegally carrying arms to armed organizations in Syria.
The government quickly dismissed claims at the time that the trucks intercepted and searched by the Turkish military by order of prosecutors in Adana had any weapons. Current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was foreign minister at the time, asserted that the cargo was humanitarian aid destined for embattled Syrian Turkmens on the other side of the border.
Testimonials by gendarmerie intelligence officers involved in the interception confirmed, however, that the shipment’s destination was not an area with any Turkmens. The Syrian destination, as disclosed by the drivers, was often a target for reconnaissance by Turkish military personnel who secured the border.
Moreover, the gendarmes said, the area was populated by radical groups.
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials called the 2014 investigation of the MİT trucks “treason and espionage” on the part of the prosecutors because the trucks were claimed to be transporting humanitarian aid to Bayır-Bucak Turkmens, and a case was filed against those involved in the investigation.
An indictment, which was approved by the Tarsus High Criminal Court in July, seeks a life sentence for Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca and Adana prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman, as well as Gendarmerie Commander Col. Özkan Çokay, who were involved in the probe.