Turkey’s president on Tuesday lodged a criminal complaint against the editor-in-chief of a newspaper that carried images purporting to show arms being carried to Syria by the Turkish intelligence service.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lawyer filed the action against Can Dundar, whose Cumhuriyet newspaper alleged on Friday that Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency was ferrying arms to rebels in Syria under the front page headline “Here are the arms Erdogan says there were not”.
In the complaint, handed to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office by Erdogan's lawyer Muammer Cemiloglu, Dundar is accused of committing a crime by publishing “false footage and information” in an attempt to bring down the Republic of Turkey and prevent the state from carrying out its duties.
Cumhuriyet’s story related to the stopping of MIT trucks by gendarmes in southern Adana and Hatay provinces in January 2014.
Photographs and video appeared to show crates filled with weapons and ammunition stacked under boxes containing medical supplies. In one photograph, the arms’ serial numbers are visible.
Prosecutors in Istanbul opened an investigation into Dundar on Friday and Erdogan said the journalist would be “held accountable” during a live TV interview.
The search of the MIT trucks, which was allegedly illegal under national security laws, has resulted in 26 gendarmes being arrested.
At the time, the Interior Ministry claimed the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Syria’s Turkmen community.