AKP number two’s confession on arms to Syria

Turkish media reported last week that the scandal over the trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MiT) that were allegedly delivering arms to rebels in Syria continues to grow, as Justice and Development Party (AKP) number two Yasin Aktay accidentally let slip that the trucks were carrying weapons despite his party claiming it was aid.
Aktay is not an ordinary figure in the AKP. He is the AKPand’s deputy chairman responsible for foreign affairs. Thus, if says something on Syria, he must be listened to very carefully. Aktay is heard in a video saying that the MiT trucks were going to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rather than to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The short video shows Aktay arguing with a local man who apparently criticized the government for supporting ISIL, referring to the fact that while ISIL was attacking the Syrian Kurdish town Kobani, Erdogan had happily exclaimed that Kobani would fall soon. This was the breaking point for many AKP-supporting Kurds. As a result, Erdogan has been visiting the Kurdish cities and waving the Quran to attract their votes. This is a first even in Erdoganand’s Islamist history, showing the sensitivity of the Kobani-ISIL issue. Given this context and background, in the southeastern province of Siirt, Aktay first tries to explain that Erdoganand’s remarks in autumn of 2014 declaring that the fall of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani was imminent were simply meant to mean that aerial attacks on ISIL were not enough and that Kobani was about to fall. This is of course a laughable explanation since it was very clear that Erdogan, his men and his media were referring to the Kurdish fighters that were defending the town as terrorists. Aktay is heard in the video having a discussion with the man who accuses the government of supporting ISILand’s offensive on Kobani, asking about the trucks, which he said were carrying arms to ISIL. In response, Aktay states emotionally that and”they were going to the FSA, and the FSAand’s number one enemy is ISIS [ISIL].and” On another note, expert at the AKP-controlled think tank ORSAM (Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies) in Ankara Oytun Orhan told The Daily Beast, and”Weapons coming in from Turkey mostly go to the FSA or the Islamic Front.and” Orhan argued that the Islamic Front does not belong to al-Qaeda and is fighting with ISIL.
In response to Aktayand’s confession, andOzcan iiiman, one of the prosecutors involved in the MiT trucks investigation, who are now all in prison, said in a statement that by that date the FSA groups had sworn allegiance to ISIL and so Ankara had actually delivered weapons to the latter. He also warned that government officials would one day be held accountable before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for having supplied arms to ISIL. Since there is no judicial case going on now and there is media censorship on the issue, we may never learn what actually happened. But what we know is that many military officers have also been imprisoned over the matter. It seems that the Turkish military had not been happy with the allegedly dodgy business of MiT and did not want to be included in the illegal game. At that time, MiT did not have the legal power to carry weapons to other countries. Obviously, the army did not want this to be seen as a and”state decisionand” but rather MiTand’s illegal act. By doing this, they were most probably trying to save themselves and the Turkish state from the wrath of the international courts. Imprisoning prosecutors and military officers will not help ease the tension between the AKP, and the army and Aktayand’s confession will only reignite the vital problem.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman