The testimonies of four public prosecutors, who were jailed last week for their role in the search of trucks allegedly carrying weapons to opposition groups in Syria, have revealed that some state officials had links with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and similar organizations operating in Syria, media reports said on Sunday.
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 on Thursday on charges of “attempting to topple or incapacitate the Turkish government through the use of force or coercion and exposing information regarding the security and political activities of the state.”
The trucks, which were found to belong to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), were stopped by gendarmes in two separate incidents in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana in January 2014 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 minister and local authorities stepped in to prevent the trucks from being searched.
In his testimony, Şişman, who stopped the MİT trucks in Hatay, said investigations that were being carried out either by himself and the deputy chief prosecutor's office at that time coincidentally revealed that some state officials did not differentiate between a state duty, collecting intelligence and being involved in terrorism, and that they had unlawful relations with ISIL and similar organizations operating in Syria.
In his testimony, Şişman added that if the trucks were really carrying weapons to Syria, this cannot be described as a state secret. “A criminal action cannot be described as a state secret,” he said.