Yaşar Kavalcıoğlu, one of the prosecutors who gave the order to stop National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that were suspected of illegally transporting weapons to Syria in 2014, was arrested by an İstanbul court on April 20.
According to Milliyet daily, Kavalcıoğlu was taken into custody by police officers at İstanbul’s Harem bus station on April 17. Officers patrolling the bus station reportedly stopped Kavalcıoğlu for an ID check. Upon his failure to provide identification, the prosecutor was reportedly taken into custody and then handed over to the İstanbul anti-smuggling and organized crime unit.
In January 2014, a number of trucks that were found to belong to MİT were stopped by gendarmes in two separate incidents in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana, after prosecutors received tipoffs that they were carrying arms to Syria.
Although the Justice and Development Party (AKP) 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 government intervened to prevent the trucks from being searched.
The prosecutors involved and a former gendarmerie officer were imprisoned after a court ordered their arrest due to their role in the search of trucks allegedly carrying weapons to opposition groups in Syria, a move that came shortly after government figures, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accused the officials of “treason and espionage.”
A case was filed against those involved in the investigation and an indictment, which was approved by the Tarsus High Criminal Court in July 2015, seeks a life sentence for Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca and Adana prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman, as well as Gendarmerie Commander Col. Özkan Çokay, who were involved in the investigation.