Turkey Feature: Prosecutors Investigating “Illegal Arms To Syria” Are Suspended

A judicial board in Turkey has suspended five prosecutors who have investigated claims of illegal arms shipments to insurgents in Syria.

The Government-controlled Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors decided by a majority vote to suspend the prosecutors.

The suspension follows the Government’s threats this week to shut down social media outlets, after documents were leaked in relation to three Syria-bound trucks that were halted in January 2014 on suspicion that they were moving arms covertly to insurgent groups.

See Syria Feature: Does Turkey’s Threat to Twitter/Facebook Expose Its Arms Supply to Insurgents?

One of the prosecutors, Süleyman Bağrıyanık, was Chief Prosecutor in Adana Province when he ordered gendarmes to stop and search trucks that were transporting weapons to Syria. When the Government blocked the orders, he filed a criminal complaint against Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ for attempting to interfere with the judiciary.

Soon after the January 2014 incident, Bağrıyanık was removed from his post and appointed to the Antalya Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Another prosecutor, Aziz Takçı, said he was now more convinced of the orders to halt shipments after developments in France and Syria and the elevated threat of terrorism in Turkey: “I stand by what I did. I believe I have done nothing wrong and I kept my dignity.”

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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