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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid