News / Europe

Political Divisions in Turkey Widen Over Syria Policy

FILE - Fighters of al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey, January 2014.
FILE - Fighters of al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey, January 2014.
Dorian Jones
— Turkish police and prosecutors are engaged in an increasing dispute with the government over the interception of alleged arms shipments to Syria. The government insists the authorities have no jurisdiction, but the revelation is putting Turkey's Syria policy under increasing political scrutiny.

In the past few weeks, Turkish prosecutors have intercepted several Turkish Intelligence Forces trucks that were suspected to be carrying weapons for radical Islamic groups in Syria.

Analyst Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar of Carnegie Europe, said these interceptions are a sign of growing divisions within the Turkish state over the government’s Syrian policy.

"This leak of intelligence was provided to the Turkish prosecutor who decided to stop this truck. But obviously, it is a sensitive issue and it shows that, unlike in previous times where the disagreement had at the rhetorical level, now it is starting to have a significance at the operation level," said Ulgen.

Defensive government

The government insists the trucks were only carrying aid. Opposition parties dispute this claim, however, demanding to know why the trucks were not allowed to be searched.

Ruling AK Party spokesman Huseyin Celik criticized the prosecutors for attempting to conduct searches.

The content of a truck belonging to the Intelligence Forces "does not concern anyone," he said, warning that the prosecutors who intercepted these trucks would be held accountable.

Pro-government media have accused supporters of the Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen in the judiciary and police, of being behind the interception of the trucks.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the Gulen supporters for the launch of a series of high-level corruption probes last month. Gulen and Erdogan were once close political allies, but have since fallen out.

Questions abound

Observers point out that Turkey’s Western allies have become increasingly concerned over its stance toward radical Islamic groups fighting the Syrian regime. Ankara steadfastly claims it only supports the Free Syria Army.

Political analyst Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Forum said, though, the increasing scrutiny will infuriate Ankara. "It is very annoying while Geneva 2 is under way in Montreux. It makes Turkish statements much less creditable in terms of interference in the internal affairs of Syria."   

In the opening addresses of Montreux, the Turkish and Syrian foreign ministers exchanged angry barbs over accusations that Ankara is arming radical Islamic groups and Jihadists in Syria. Observers say such concerns also are likely shared by Turkey’s Western allies.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid