ANKARA [MENL] — Turkey’s intelligence community was said to have armed Al
Qaida-aligned militias in Syria.

Documents leaked from Turkey’s Gendarmerie asserted that Ankara approved
a plan to send missiles and heavy weapons to Al Qaida-aligned militias in
Syria. The documents stemmed from a Gendarmerie investigation of three
trucks sent by the National Intelligence Agency, or MIT, and laden with
weapons, captured near the Turkish border with Syria in January 2014.

“The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the Al Qaida terror
organization,” a leaked Gendarmerie document read.

The documents were leaked and posted online in early January 2015.
Within a day, authorities banned the posts and prevented the media from
reporting of the findings of the Gendarmerie.

After the trucks were seized by the Gendarmerie, the government of
then-Prime Minister Recep Erdogan acknowledged that MIT was supplying
weapons. But the government said the weapons were meant for the ethnic
Turkish community rather than such Al Qaida groups as Nusra Front for the
Defense of Levant.

The documents said the trucks were stopped at the Ceyhan border gate
with Iraq. They said MIT agents tried to stop Gendarmerie from examining the
cargo and a fight erupted.

In the end, the trucks were examined and up to 55 missiles were found as
well as 25 crates of anti-aircraft and mortar shells. The crates contained
Russian lettering.

Soon after the altercation, the governor of the Adana province, Huseyin
Cos, ordered the Gendarmerie to release the trucks. Cos, an ally of Erdogan,
said Gendarmerie did not have the authority to stop the convoy.

“The trucks are moving by the order of the prime minister,” Cos was
quoted by Gendarmerie as saying.

One of the truck drivers said the weapons were received from a foreign
aircraft that landed in Ankara. The driver said the trucks were headed for
the Syrian border and accompanied by MIT.

“We carried similar loads several times before,” the drive, identified
as Murat Kislakci, said. “We were working for the state. This was the first
time we collected cargo from the airport and for the first time we were
allowed to stand by our trucks during the loading.”

The documents marked the latest allegations of Ankara’s support for Al
Qaida as well as Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. In late 2014, the Turkish
Army was seen meeting with ISIL operatives along the Syrian border.

The border clash sparked a purge by Erdogan of anybody linked to the
investigation of MIT. At least 13 Gendarmerie officers who participated in
the search were charged with espionage and a prosecutor was fired.

On Jan. 17, an intelligence report asserted that 3,000 people in Turkey
were linked to ISIL. MIT was said to have sent an alert to security forces
that ISIL could be planning to attack Western embassies and consulates in
Ankara and Istanbul. Turkey has acknowledged that 700 of its nationals
joined either Nusra or ISIL.

“A common concern about the foreign fighters is: What will happen when
they return to their countries?” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
said. “We also have this concern.”