Turkey bans media reports on arms delivery to Syria militants

The Turkish government has warned the media against publishing reports that the country’s National Intelligence Organization, MİT, delivered arms in 2014 to foreign-backed militants operating in Syria.

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Radio and Television on Wednesday recalled a March 2014 government decree under which the coverage of the arms delivery allegations was banned.

The imposed media blackout includes Turkish newspapers, television, websites and social media.

In January 2013, Turkish police seized seven trucks near the border with Syria that were suspected of smuggling weapons into the Arab country. Ankara denied reports that it was helping the militants.

A ban was imposed after a Twitter account published a series of documents that showed trucks belonging to the MİT were providing arms to Syria militants fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Hurriyet daily, a Turkish court ordered the closure of all websites, including Facebook and Twitter, which refrained from removing information or allegations in connection with the leaked documents.

The social networking website, Twitter, omitted the documents instantly and suspended the account that published them. However, the information by that time had found its way into many other websites and some Facebook accounts.

The MIT claimed the trucks contained humanitarian aid for the people of Syria.

The prosecutor involved in the case was dismissed by the Turkish government, which also blocked further investigation into it.

Moreover, 19 security officials who stopped the trucks are currently being tried for “spying” charges.

Turkey has constantly rejected claims that it is delivering arms to the militants in Syria or is backing them.

MR/HSN/SS

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