A German daily reported that Turkish security forces captured an Iranian
arms shipment meant for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The
Munich-based Suddeutsche Zeitung quoted diplomatic sources as describing the
weapons, intercepted on April 30, as destined for the Iranian-sponsored
Hizbullah, Middle East Newsline reported.
"According to Western diplomatic sources, several trucks with suspicious
cargo deliveries, which carried documents, were stopped in Kilis in April
along the border between Turkey and Syria," Suddeutsche said. "This
statement suggests that the Turkish authorities had been informed by foreign
intelligence on suspicious shipments."
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The Turkish seizure, at least the second in 2011, was said to have taken
place in the southern city of Kilis near the Syrian border. The diplomats
said the shipment contained a large amount of weapons and ammunition.
Ankara has not confirmed the latest seizure. In March, Turkey
reported to the United Nations the capture of an Iranian air transport that
contained weapons for Syria. The Ankara government reported Iranian 1,800
shells, 60 AK-47 assault rifles and 14 machine guns.
Both the European Union and the United States have pressed Turkey to
stop Iranian weapons shipments to either the Assad regime or Hizbullah. The
British parliament issued a report on Aug. 1 that said Turkey must enhance
border security before being granted membership in the EU.
"The report underestimates concrete progress our country has made in
[the process of] EU harmonization in justice and internal affairs, as well
as measures it has taken against irregular migration," the Turkish Foreign
Ministry said in a statement late Aug. 2. "The report also fails to give a
fair account of our constructive cooperation in a way that it could cause
misunderstandings and concerns over our EU accession bid."