The Turkish authorities have detained a truck loaded with weapons, headed to Syria, Turkish Hurriyet informed. Three people, among whom a Syrian citizen, were arrested in the province of Hatay, Turkey. A large amount of ammunition and weapons were found inside the truck.
The driver claimed that the vehicle was loaded with humanitarian aid from a Turkish non-governmental organization, which has later called the allegations “defamatory “. Turkey has harshly criticized the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is a supporter of the Islamist opposition, however the state denies the provision of any weapons.
In December, local media reported that Turkey has provided 47 tons of weapons to the Syrian rebels from June to December 2013. Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz denied the information and said that the country exported only hunting rifles. Turkey, which has been accused of turning a blind eye to militants who cross the border to enter Syria, has taken some 600,000 Syrian refugees.
Turkey had criticized as “premature” the US designation of al-Nusra as a terrorist organization in December 2012, given the advances the group appeared to be securing for the Syrian opposition at the time. During a visit to Washington in January, Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu reportedly told his American interlocutors that “it was more important to focus on the ‘chaos’ that Assad has created instead of groups such as al-Nusra.”
The Erdogan government has always denied providing weapons to al-Nusra, but has been vague about the logistical support the group is said to be receiving from Turkey. That too may be changing, especially after al-Nusra failed to stop the advance of Kurds in northern Syria. The idea that Ankara is supporting al-Nusra and other radical Islamist groups against the Syrian Kurds operating under the mantle of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has also endangered Erdogan’s ongoing efforts to secure a peace with the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey.
With al-Nusra’s activities beginning to rebound on Turkey in unexpected and undesired ways, the first sign that Ankara may be changing tack, at least as far as such groups are concerned, surfaced in a July 25 Radikal interview with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. irdiplomacy.ir
Turkey supported al-Nusra to fight the Kurdish/expand border: