Turkey says intercepted Syrian-flagged ship carrying arms

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey had already intercepted a Syrian-flagged ship carrying arms to Turkey’s southern neighbor, vowing further actions against vehicles carrying weapons to Syria.

Erdoğan told reporters in New York that Turkey will intercept vehicles carrying weapons to Syria as part of Turkey’s planned sanctions on Syrian regime because of its brutal crackdown on protesters.

Turkish prime minister said Turkey has notified the Syrian government that it is enforcing an arms embargo against Syria and has stopped the Syrian-flagged ship.

Erdoğan said on Friday that if there are such shipments through the air or the land, then Turkey would also “stop and confiscate them, as in the past.”

Erdoğan did not elaborate on the Syrian ship’s status or when or where it was stopped.

Turkey earlier closed its airspace to planes carrying military equipment to Syria after Erdoğan announced on Tuesday that Turkey was considering imposing sanctions on Syria in coordination with the US.

Turkey intercepted an arms shipment from Iran to Syria in August. In March, Turkish authorities also seized the cargo of an Iranian plane bound for Syria because the shipment violated UN sanctions. Turkish media said the aircraft was carrying light weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket launchers and mortars.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has gradually toughened its criticism against the Syrian regime over its brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests. Erdoğan said in New York that Turkey has already prepared for sanctions against Syria and added that the Turkish foreign minister and the US secretary of state will jointly work on what those Turkish sanctions may entail.


23 September 2011, Friday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,