Veteran journalist Uğur Dündar has said that guns reported to be lost or stolen in Turkey are enough in number to arm some 20 brigades, each of which consists of at least 5,000 soldiers, and that they are currently Turkey’s top national security problem, local media reported on Tuesday.
“At least 100,000 guns are reported missing. Turkey has witnessed many bloody events in the past. We, as the generations who saw that sad picture, shudder when we hear the words ‘missing weapons.’ The rulers this country should also shudder. No one can predict who those weapons will be pointed at,” Dündar said on Monday on pro-opposition broadcaster TELE1.
According to figures released by the Interior Ministry, the number of guns reported to be lost or stolen in Turkey increased from 14,682 in 2014 to 91,120 in 2015 and to 107,628 in 2016, the year when the July 15 coup attempt that killed 249 people took place.
The journalist reminded that a former intelligence officer recently told him in an interview that Turkey had become a base for smuggling weapons and drugs. Dündar also reiterated a claim by retired Brig. Gen. Haldun Solmaztürk that guns reported to be missing in the country were being used to create a paramilitary force.
“Sedat Peker recently made revelations about how this parallel power was established and by whom it was maintained,” Dündar said, referring to a mob boss’s recent claim that unregistered guns were handed out on the night of the coup attempt in 2016 and afterward under the coordination of the then-minister of labor and current interior minister Süleyman Soylu.
Peker last week said in a series of tweets that a box of unregistered AK-47s was taken from the Esenyurt district of İstanbul to the Balat neighborhood in the city’s Fatih district in a car belonging to a youth branch official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) one night in the first week of August 2016, less than a month after the putsch bid.
The mafia leader added that Abdülsebur Soğanlı, head of the AKP’s Esenyurt youth branch, interior ministry official Ahmet Onay, then-AKP İstanbul youth branch chairman and current Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) President Taha Ayhan and then vice chair and current head of the AKP’s İstanbul youth branch Osman Tomakin were involved in the transportation of the weapons coordinated by Soylu back in 2016.
“They have been distributing heavy weapons, AK-47s. How horrible is this! Guns are being handed out so that the people of this country can kill each other,” Dündar stated.
“Peker’s allegations should have been investigated by a parliamentary committee as soon as he started making them. Unfortunately, every attempt to that end has been rejected by the votes of the ruling party. But this can’t be ignored. … Who has these guns? Who handed them out and for what purpose?” he said.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has since early May been making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials and their family members, with Soylu being his main target.
Peker’s claims about the transportation of unregistered guns were last week confirmed by Onay, who said he was present in the car with Ayhan and Soğanlı but didn’t see any weapons being transported since he didn’t get out of the car.
Then-AKP İstanbul provincial chair and current vice chair of the opposition Gelecek (Future) Party Selim Temurci also recently claimed that Erdoğan and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak were more likely to be involved in the alleged arming of civilians during the attempted coup and afterward rather than Soylu.