Court Case Reveals Turkey Arms Flow To Syrian Rebels
“To tell the truth, it’s a flat lie when
the state claims it does not help provide the opposition with weapons,”
Cihat Acikalin, a lawyer in the Turkey-Syria border town Reyhanli, told Al-Monitor. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected all conjecture regarding the transfer of weapons to the Syrian opposition through Turkey as recently as May 10. Erdogan stressed that Turkey only provides humanitarian help by opening its borders to nearly 300,000 refugees, costing the country roughly $1 billion. The conjecture about Turkey’s assistance to the opposition peaked after Syria allegedly shot down a Turkish warplane in June 2012. Erdogan said at the time, “Turkey and the Turkish people will provide all sorts of support to the Syrian people until they free themselves from this persecution, this bloody-handed dictator and his gang.” This statement led to much speculation and brought the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's policy toward Syria under a domestic and foreign spotlight. Regardless of the allegations, the AKP government staunchly insists that it has not played any role in arming the opposition, let alone had any contacts with radical Islamist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, which is known as al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch. [[[[“The prime minister and I have repeated this numerous times. Turkey has no relationship with any radical group. I am saying this especially referring to Nusra,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sept. 10. “This is black propaganda by those circles who want to cast a shadow on Turkey’s humanitarian-based policies regarding Syria.”]]]]
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