Turkish court arrests three army officers in MIT truck case


Three senior army officers including two generals and a retired colonel on Sunday were arrested by a court in Istanbul on charges of espionage and leading a terrorist group.

The court issued the arrest orders for a case involving the illegal search of National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks in 2014.

According to Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan, General Hamza Celepoglu was accused of forming and leading an armed terrorist organization and of trying to overthrow the Turkish government.

General Ibrahim Aydin and a retired colonel, Burhanettin Cihangiroglu, were also accused of forming and leading an armed terrorist organization as well as espionage.

In January 2014, several trucks were stopped by local gendarmerie in southern Adana and Hatay provinces of Turkey, alleging that they were carrying ammunition and weapons, although such a search is unauthorised under the national security law.

At the time of the incident, Turkey’s Interior Ministry stated that the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to the Turkmen community in the war-torn country. After that, 26 soldiers involved with the illegal search were arrested.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that the trucks which were stopped belonged to MIT and were taking aid to ethnic Turkmens in Syria, adding that prosecutors had no authority to search MIT trucks and they were part of a “parallel state” run by Fethullah Gulen who is a US based preacher of Turkish origin and leader of a “Gulenist Terrorist Organization” (FETO).

Istanbul courthouse called for the army officers to submit their statements within the scope of an investigation involving the search of MIT trucks in 2014.

On Thursday,  the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, and its Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, were arrested after making MIT truck stories their headline.

The two were arrested on charges of espionage and aiding a terror organisation.