23:46 GMT +322 July 2018
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    Police use tear-inducing agent against demonstrators during a protest against the arrest of journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul in Ankara on November 27, 2015.

    Reports of Arms Supplies to Syrian Rebels 'Drive Ankara up the Wall'

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    A court in Istanbul on Thursday ordered two prominent opposition journalists jailed pending trial for alleging that Turkey's secret services had supplied arms to Islamist rebels in Syria, Turkish media reported on Thursday.

    In May, the Cumhuriyet newspaper published what it said were images of Turkish trucks carrying ammunition to Syrian militants fighting against President Bashar Assad.

    Cumhuriyet said the images were proof that Turkey was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria. It linked the seized trucks to the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

    The revelations, published in May, caused a political uproar in Turkey, with an enraged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing Dundar would pay a "heavy price".

    Stanislav Ivanov, a Moscow-based expert in Middle Eastern affairs, explains the Turkish authorities’ clampdown on the journalists as a sign of their panic in the face of hard facts laid bare by the media.

    “Truth will always come out… Including about, the son of the Turkish President, Bilal Erdogan, being linked to ISIL terrorists and many top Turkish security officials engaged in arms supplies not only to the Free Syrian Army but also to the Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State terrorists. Until very recently Ankara managed to get away with all that, but now that President Erdogan is saying that Turkey is neither buying oil from ISIL nor supplying arms to the terrorists, any facts dug up by the media, above all the Turkish media, are making the big shots in Ankara see red. I guess that if they had capital punishment in Turkey, these two journalists would certainly be sentenced to die,” Stanislav Ivanov told Sputnik Radio on Friday.

    “All this panic, compounded by the barbaric destruction of the Russian warplane, explains the Turkish authorities’ decision to tighten political screws and crack down on the local media,” Ivanov added.

    Related:

    OSCE, Journalists Urge Turkey to Free Reporters Arrested With Espionage
    Some 1,000 Gather in Istanbul to Support Detained Turkish Journalists
    Tags:
    Daesh, media revelations, arms supplies, panic, journalists, crackdown, Turkish National Intelligence Organization, Al-Nusra Front, Stanislav Ivanov, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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