Mar 25, 2011
Istanbul - A shipment of Turkish-made guns bound for Yemen and discovered in Dubai was illegal, the Turkish government said Friday.
'The arms shipment was not a consignment based on permission from Turkish authorities,' the Anatolia Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal as saying.
On Thursday, police in Dubai said they had found 16,000 pistols that had been manufactured in Turkey in a consignment bound for Yemen, thereby thwarting an apparent weapons smuggling operation.
United Arab Emirates authorities said the consignment, which passed through Egypt before reaching Dubai, was headed for Saada, in northern Yemen.
Saada province is a stronghold of Shiite rebels who have been engaged in an insurgency against the Yemeni government since 2004.
Unal said Turkey has strict controls on the export of weapons, particularly to countries experiencing unrest or armed conflict, and that an investigation into the shipment had been launched.
'It is out of the question to talk about permission given by Turkish authorities for such an arms shipment that could cause the deaths of more people in Yemen,' Unal said.