By Harut Sassounian
Turkish authorities have detained a former official involved in a controversial 2014 search of Syria-bound trucks. While media reported the vehicles were full of ammunition, Ankara claimed they carried “aid for the Turkmen” and branded the search “treason.”
Former Prosecutor Yasar Kavalcioglu was detained after an ID check on a passenger bus in Istanbul early on Monday, according to Anadolu news agency. Kavalcioglu was put on search list for his role in the truck issue, the Daily Sabah notes.
In January 2014, when Gendarmerie intercepted trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), after prosecutors of the Adana province got a tip-off that the trucks were carrying weapons for rebel and terrorist groups in Syria.
The search exposed large amount of munitions under a thin layer of medical supplies in large containers marked ‘FRAGILE’. The discovery, however, led only to arrests of the officials involved in the search of the vehicles.
The truck incident got an international attention in May 2015 when the Cumhuriyet newspaper’s website released a footage allegedly showing the inspection. The MIT trucks had been carrying over 80,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, some 1,000 mortar shells and hundreds of grenade launchers projectiles, the newspaper reported.
Turkish officials made quite contradictory statements after the paper’s report, either admitting or denying the weapons’ presence, denying the existence of the delivery altogether and eventually settling on the story that the convoy carried “aid destined for the Turkmen.”
In 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the trucks belonged to MIT, but were merely carrying “aid.” He added that the prosecutors had no right to search the vehicles, and accused them of “treason and espionage” and being part of a “parallel state” run by his political enemies, who are determined to discredit the government.
In the aftermath of the last year’s botched coup, the 2014 truck incident gained a new “understanding,” as a former top gendarmerie official openly branded it a “coup attempt that targeted our president” by followers of Erdogan’s rival, Fethullah Gulen, who later “attempted to turn into a plot inside gendarmerie.”
A week ago another prosecutor involved in the trucks case, Aziz Takci, who has been under arrest since 2015, faced up to 15 years in jail on charges of being a part of the Gulen movement, according to judicial sources, quoted by Turkish media.
A Turkish MP has claimed that Islamic State terrorists in Syria received all the necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey.
The MP Eren Erdem says that the Syrian Government did not have sarin gas and insists there are grounds to believe a cover up has taken place.
Erdem, from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), made the claims in parliament, citing evidence from an abruptly-closed criminal case.
He argues that the West purposely blamed Syrian President Assad for the August 2013 sarin attacks, using it as part of the pretext to make US military intervention in Syria possible.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member, Erdem, brought up the issue for public discussion in parliament last week, citing evidence from an abruptly-closed criminal case. He accused Ankara of failing to investigate Turkish supply routes used to provide terrorists with toxic sarin gas ingredients.
“There is data in this indictment. Chemical weapon materials are being brought to Turkey and being put together in Syria in camps of ISIS which was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time,” Erdem told RT.
Sarin gas is a military-grade chemical that was used in a notorious attack on Ghouta and several other neighborhoods near the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2013. The attacks were pinned on the Syrian leadership, who in turn agreed to get rid of all chemical weapons stockpiles under a UN-brokered deal amid an imminent threat of US intervention.
Addressing parliamentarians on Thursday, Erdem showed a copy of the criminal case number 2013/120 that was opened by the General Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Adana in southern Turkey.
The investigation revealed that a number of Turkish citizens took part in negotiations with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) representatives on the supply of sarin gas. Pointing to evidence cited in the criminal case, he said that wiretapped phone conversations proved that an Al-Qaeda militant, Hayyam Kasap, acquired sarin.
“These are all detected. There are phone recordings of this shipment like ‘don’t worry about the border, we’ll take care of it’ and we also see the bureaucracy is being used,” continued Erdem.
Based on the gathered evidence Adana authorities conducted raids and arrested 13 suspects in the case. But a week later, inexplicably, the case was closed and all the suspects immediately crossed the Turkish-Syrian border, Erdem said.
“About the shipment, Republic prosecutor of Adana, Mehmet Arıkan, made an operation and the related people were detained. But as far as I understand he was not an influential person in bureaucracy. A week after, another public prosecutor was assigned, took over the indictment and all the detainees were released. And they left Turkey crossing the Syrian border,” he said.
“The phone recordings in the indictment showed all the details from how the shipment was going to be made to how it was prepared, from the content of the labs to the source of the materials. Which trucks were going to be used, all dates etc. From A to Z, everything was discussed and recorded. Despite all of this evidence, the suspects were released,” he said.
“And the shipment happened,” Erdem added. “Because no one stopped them. That’s why maybe the sarin gas used in Syria is a result of this.”
Speaking to RT, Erdem said that according to some evidence Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation was also involved, with some unconfirmed reports pointing in the direction of a government cover up, with Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag’s involvement.
Certain evidence suggests Bozdag wanted to know beforehand from the sarin gas producer when and if the Islamists will use the chemical weapon.
“When I read the indictment, I saw clearly that these people have relationships with The Machinery and Chemical Industry Institution of Turkey and they don’t have any worries about crossing the border. For example in Hayyam Kasap’s phone records, you hear him saying sarin gas many times, saying that the ateliers are ready for production, materials are waiting in trucks which were supposedly carrying club soda,” he told RT.
The parliamentarian said that now he feels like there is a witch hunt against him, after he confronted the justice minister. Bozdag, according to Erdem denied only the part that he wanted to get notified about the operations beforehand.
Furthermore, Erdem argues that the West purposely blamed the regime of Bashar Assad for the August 2013 attacks and used it as part of the pretext to make US military intervention in Syria possible. The MP said that evidence in Adana’s case, according to his judgment, proves that IS was responsible.
“For example the chemical attack in Ghouta. Remember. It was claimed that the regime forces were behind it. This attack was conducted just days before the sarin operation in Turkey. It’s a high probability that this attack was carried out with those basic materials shipped through Turkey. It is said the regime forces are responsible but the indictment says it’s ISIS. UN inspectors went to the site but they couldn’t find any evidence. But in this indictment,
we’ve found the evidence. We know who used the sarin gas, and our government knows it too,” he said.
At the same time, Erdem also accused the West and Europe in particular for providing “basic materials” to create such a powerful chemical weapon.
“All basic materials are purchased from Europe. Western institutions should question themselves about these relations. Western sources know very well who carried out the sarin gas attack in Syria. They know these people, they know who these people are working with, they know that these people are working for Al-Qaeda. I think is Westerns are hypocrats about the situation,” he concluded.
The administration of US President Barack Obama has offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion in arms sales, a report seen by Reuters has found.
The offer, including weapons, other military equipment and training, is the highest the United States has offered in its 71-year alliance with the monarchy, the agency reported Wednesday.
Authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy, the report said the offers were made in 42 separate deals and most of what they consist are yet to be delivered.
According to Reuters, “US arms offers to Saudi Arabia since Obama took office in January 2009 have included everything from small arms and ammunition to tanks, attack helicopters, air-to-ground missiles, missile defense ships, and warships. Washington also provides maintenance and training to Saudi security forces.”
Hartung’s report was based on data from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
“It’s time for the Obama administration to use the best leverage it has – Saudi Arabia’s dependence on U.S. weapons and support – to wage the war in Yemen in the first place,” Hartung said. “The more recent deals that have involved resupplying Saudi Arabia with ammunition, bombs, and tanks to replace weaponry used up or damaged in the war in Yemen are no doubt driven in part by the effort to ‘reassure’ the Saudis that the U.S. will not tilt towards Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal.”
He further suggested that, “Pulling back the current offer of battle tanks or freezing some of the tens of billions in weapons and services in the pipeline would send a strong signal to the Saudi leadership that they need stop their indiscriminate bombing campaign and take real steps to prevent civilian casualties.”
Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015, with the UN putting the death toll from the military aggression at about 10,000.
According to the Control Arms Coalition, a group that is campaigning against arms sales, Britain, France and the US are violating the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty by exporting conventional weapons to a country engaged in war crimes.
Last month, the Obama administration approved a potential $1.15 billion arms package for the Saudi monarchy.
Russia began to provide Armenia with new weapons in accordance with defense contracts of several million dollars signed by the two allied nations, announced yesterday the Minister of Defense, Seyran Ohanian.
The Armenian government could pay with a loan of $ 200 million that Moscow had allocated a year ago.
The government had decided to accelerate the implementation of the agreement following the war four days in early April to Nagorno-Karabakh. It instructed the Armenian Ministry of Defense to quickly negotiate supply contracts with the relevant Russian government agencies.
“Almost all contracts have been signed and interstate procedures for their implementation have been completed,” said Ohanian reporters after inspecting the Armenian troops along the heavily militarized border with Azerbaijan.
“With the existing instruments and under the agreements concluded in the past, imports of Russian weapons are currently underway,” he said when he was in the Tavush region.
In late June, two relatives of Ohanian had traveled to Moscow for talks with senior officials of the Ministry of the Russian Defence, as well as members of the Russian government agency in charge of arms deals with foreign states, Rosoboronexport.
Ohanian did not specify the types or quantities of weapons that Armenia will buy the Russians, with prices set well below the international market level.
In February, Moscow issued a long list of Russian-made weapons that can be purchased for $ 200 million. It includes the multiple launch rocket system Smerch, the heavy rocket system thermobaric TOS-1A, anti-tank weapons and surface to air missiles to the shoulder.
In recent years, Russia has sold 18 Smerch launchers and many TOS-1A systems to Azerbaijan and more than 100 T-90 tanks, more than 30 combat helicopters and other offensive weapons. Deliveries of Russian arms to the enemy state of Armenia, worth at least $ 4 billion, came from contracts signed in 2010-2011.
Armenian leaders have intensified their criticism of Russian arms sales to Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April. The Russians have rejected these remarks, justifying that they supplied arms to Armenia and Azerbaijan in order to maintain “military balance” in the conflict. The Russian ambassador in Azerbaijan said last month that Moscow intends to sign new defense contracts with Baku.
Ohanian defended yesterday the military alliance between Armenia and Russia, insisting that the latter would defend the state of the South Caucasus in the case of “aggression” foreign.
Moscow and Yerevan have also negotiated last year the delivery of Russian Iskander missiles in the Armenian army. With a firing range of up to 500 kilometers, the sophisticated systems would make oil and gas infrastructure in Azerbaijan even more vulnerable to the Armenian missile strikes in the event of a large-scale war in Karabakh.
A general in the Armenian army had claimed in April that Armenia already had such missiles in its military arsenal. He had no official confirmation.
Claire © armenews.com
The services of European information hound six ships carrying weapons for Daech in Libya.
Extensive international hunt for suspect boats was triggered in the Mediterranean Sea. Six cargo or container ship carrying weapons for the benefit of Daech in Libya are in the crosshairs of the main services of European information do we learned from security sources in the Middle East.
The boats left Turkish ports mid-May, after being spotted and identified by Western agents operating in Turkey. These six vessels are widebody that can convey more than 10,000 tonnes of cargo. There are two container ships flying the Turkish and Liberian flag, three cargo colors of Panama, Bolivia and Tanzania. Finally, a bétailler ship is registered in Comoros, according to the list accessed by Le Figaro.
Each conceal among its cargo of goods weapons …
Stéphane © armenews.com
By Ian Greenhalgh,
Head of the Russian General Staff Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy has said that the never-ending flow of large trucks from Turkey carrying weapons and ammunition crosses the Turkish-Syrian border to deliver them to Al-Nusra Front Terrorists in Syria.
It is becoming ever more obvious to people around the world that Turkey is largely responsible for the continuing war in Syria – I won’t call it a civil war as it is plainly not that, rather something far more complex and multi-layered with international players directly involved.
Why are people realising that Turkey is upto it’s neck in ISIS? Simple, because they can see from any map of the region that the areas where ISIS is in control are adjoining the Turkish border and that is the only route for supplies and weapons to reach ISIS – through Turkey.
What people are asking is why can’t the US, NATO and Russia get together and act decisively against ISIS and the sundry other terrorist groups in the region? After all, they each have a military presence in the region and have carried out air strikes over Syria; surely the combined firepower and resources of such an alliance would make short work of this bunch of head chopping scum?
Of course, the answer to that is most complex, as is the interlocking web of alliances, both known and secret between various nations and the competing agendas at stake.
Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said in his press briefing on Friday that weapons and ammunitions are continuously being delivered to the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, allowing them to engage Syrian government forces and hindering the fight against Daesh in the country.
“The never-ending flow of large trucks from Turkey carrying weapons and ammunition crosses the Turkish-Syrian border. This constant feed of live forces and weapons allows terrorists from the Nusra Front to continue their provocative shelling and make advances on Syrian government forces, which diminishes [government military] activity against Islamic State terrorists in other areas,” Rudskoy said during a briefing.
Rudskoy also added that the US has acknowledged that the heaviest fighting is centered around areas where the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front is most active.
“Everyone knows, and our US partners admit that the biggest hot spots of active military operations are those parts of the Syrian Republic where the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists from the al-Nusra Front run rampant.”
So far, according to Rudskoy, the US has refused to conduct joint operations against terrorist groups in Syria, which has led to an escalation of the conflict.
The al-Nusra Front terrorist group hampers the ceasefire efforts in northern areas of Syria, the Russian General Staff said Friday.
“It is very clear that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, active in the regions of Aleppo and Idlib, is the main obstacle to expanding the ceasefire regime to northern areas of Syria,” Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said.
Moreover, the Al-Nusra Front has used the ‘period of silence’ to partly restore its combat capability. Rudskoy told reporters.
Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu offered to conduct joint air strikes against terrorist groups in Syria, but the Pentagon declined the offer. However, The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry says Moscow hasn’t ruled out a possible joint operation in the future; Sputnik reported.
A new hysteria has seized Azeri media suspecting Armenia to hold “atomic weapons” or a radioactive weapon. Azeri media that ask Baku to bring the matter before the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in charge of controlling the atomic proliferation. The statement of General Arkady Ter Tatevosian and former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratain evoking available by Armenia ‘secret weapons’ caused a real panic among the population of Azerbaijan and especially its media. Azeri would be terrified that Armenia would have scientific and technical expertise to develop atomic weapons. Azeri media also calling for the closure of the Armenian thermonuclear Medzamor the only South Caucasus. The media claim that Armenian citizens arrested in Georgia recently tried to import in Armenia radioactive materials that could be used to make a bomb … these media call the Azeri Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov alert organizations international because according to them, Armenia would have the atomic bomb or the lowest “dirty bomb.”
Armenia protested Israel‘s supply of arms to Azerbaijan, Haarets reports.
The protest comes after an Israeli-made “suicide drone” attacked a convoy in the latest round of violence in Nagorno Karabakh.
Armenian ambassador to Egypt Armen Melkonyan, who also represents Yerevan in Israel, met with the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Division for Eurasia Dan Oryan, conveying Armenia’s utter discontent over equipping Azerbaijan.
The parties to the Karabakh conflict agreed on a bilateral ceasefire along the contact line which came into force at midday, April 5.
Prior to that, on the night of April 1-2, Azerbaijani armed forces initiated overt offensive operations in the southern, southeastern and northeastern directions of the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh.
As many as 46 Karabakh servicemen were killed and 122 were wounded in the course of military operations.
As of April 5, the Azerbaijani side has lost 26 tanks and 4 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as 1 BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher, 1 engineering vehicle, 2 military helicopters and 11 unmanned aerial vehicles. The Azerbaijani side has admitted the loss of 31 fighters, 1 helicopter and 1 unmanned drones, whereas the Armenian side’s photo and video materials show dozens of killed Azerbaijani troops, 1 helicopter and 3 UAVs. Opposition media outlets, however, reported on the death of 81 Azerbaijani soldiers, stating that 6 more have gone missing. According to Karabakh authorities, 300 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in clashes.
14 Karabakh tanks have been neutralized since April 2.
Although both Armenia and Azerbaijan claim each other as aggressors, it’s obvious that the Azeris had the weapon of surprise on their side, American-Armenian musician Serj Tankian, who is lead singer of the world-renowned American Armenian rock band System of a Down, wrote on his Facebook page.
According to Tankian, there have been three developments this week on the Nagorno-Karabagh resolution effort ”that have led to what seem to be a very distributing all out war on the border of Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan”.
”1. [Recognition od Nagorno-Karabakh independence by Hawaii] may have led Azerbaijan to believe that time is against them in the eventual recognition of the Republic of Karabagh. 2. A meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (a corrupt despot who inherited the oil rich regime from his father) hours before the resumption of violence, may have given Aliyev the feeling that the U.S. would condone his outright aggression to seize Karabagh. 3. A meeting in Switzerland between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan over last weekend,” Tankian wrote.
”Although both sides claim the other as aggressors, for me it’s obvious that the Azeris had the weapon of surprise on their side and went in with full armaments immediately and claim to have taken over land. Kissing the ass of oil should not have produced war, right ? Wrong,” he said.