The Nigerian Armed Forces has revealed that it is investigating a report which alleges that Turkey is supplying sophisticated weapons to the Boko Haram terrorist group, Nigerian news website The Will reported on Tuesday.
Egyptian Television, Ten.tv, cited by the CBN News Channel, had recently reported that Turkey was a major supplier of arms to Boko Haram even as Turkish Airlines had also been accused in the past of shipping arms to Nigeria.
Saying the reported supply of arms to Boko Haram by Turkey was a serious national security issue, Defense Headquarters spokesman, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the matter was receiving attention at a strategic level.
“The veracity of the claims in the video cannot be ascertained immediately. However, it is a serious national security issue, and I believe it is receiving the required attention at the national strategic level,” he said.
In a tape posted on YouTube, an assistant executive of the Turkish airline, Mehmet Karataş, allegedly told Mustafa Varank, a former adviser to then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he felt guilty over the national flag carrier’s arms shipment to Nigeria.
“I do not know whether these [weapons] will kill Muslims or Christians. I feel sinful,” Karataş was allegedly heard saying.
Erdoğan later dismissed the tapes as “vile.”
It would be recalled that in May 2017, the Nigerian government told AFP it had intercepted an illegal arms shipment originating from Turkey and containing 440 pump action rifles seized at the port in Lagos, five months after a similar seizure, when customs officers had stopped a truck carrying 661 illegal pump action rifles after they had been cleared at the port.
Ten.tv’s host Nasha’t al-Deyhi reported a leak confirming an intercepted phone call a few years ago that confirmed the arms deals.
“Today’s leak confirms without a doubt that Erdoğan [president of Turkey], his state, his government and his party are transferring weapons from Turkey to – this is a shock, to where you may ask – to Nigeria; and to whom? – to the Boko Haram organization,” he said.