MESOP : THE “MIT” TAXIS TO SYRIA – Detention orders issued for military officials in MİT trucks case

May 15, 2015, TODAY’S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL – Detention orders were issued on Friday for 10 military officers, including high-ranking officers, as part of an investigation into the interception of Syria-bound trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) last year.According to reports in the media, the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention orders for 10 military officers, including a lieutenant colonel, who reportedly work at gendarmerie crime units in Ankara and İstanbul.In January 2014, a number of trucks, which were found to belong to MİT, were stopped by gendarmes in two separate incidents in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana, after prosecutors received tip-offs that they were carrying arms to Syria.

Although the government has claimed that the trucks were transporting humanitarian aid to the Turkmen community in Syria, opposition voices have continued to question why, if the operation was within the law, the government intervened to prevent the trucks from being searched.

Four former prosecutors and a former gendarme were imprisoned after a court ordered their arrest due to their role in the search of trucks allegedly carrying weapons to opposition groups in Syria, a move that came shortly after government figures, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accused the officials of “treason.”

The detention orders are thought to be part of an ongoing politically motivated witch hunt against police investigators who uncovered the highly secretive Iran-backed group Tawhid-Salam, which is alleged to have ties to senior Turkish government officials. The alleged evidence linking the Tawhid-Salam investigation that began in 2011 and the interception of the MİT trucks remains controversial.

Former Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca, Adana prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman and former Adana provincial gendarmerie commander Col. Özkan Çokay were arrested.

Leaked documents have revealed that the military had knowledge that the cargo was destined for al-Qaeda in Syria following an intelligence tip it had received in advance.

The trucks’ contents, as listed by the military officers who searched them, included heavy weaponry such as mortars and metal casings, according to the documents.

The list included some two dozen rocket launchers measuring two meters in length and 15 centimeters in diameter, smaller metal mortar casings, around 10 to 15 wooden boxes, each containing 24 mortars, around 30 boxes of 60-millimeter mortar shells and five or six bags of anti-aircraft ammunition.