EUROPENEWSPOLITICS

Top-secret Syria meeting leaked: Ankara alarmed and YouTube banned

The Turkish Government was deeply shocked after the emergence of an illegal recording of a high security meeting of state officials at the Foreign Ministry. The government vowed to impose the heaviest penalty and Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Turkish FM, said that this leak is treasonous. On YouTube, the recording was listened to hundred thousand times in a few hours.

“These gangs of treachery are the enemies of our state and people. The perpetrators of this attack targeting the security of our state and people will be found out in the shortest time and will be handed over to justice to be given the heaviest penalty. This treacherous attack targeting the Republic of Turkey will be disrupted,” the Foreign Ministry declared in a written statement late March 27th.

In addition to the foreign minister, the Turkish PM also strongly criticized the leak in an election campaign speech late Thursday in the Kurdish-dominated eastern province Diyarbakır. The PM defined this move as “immorality, dishonourableness, and vileness.”

After the leak the Telecommunications Directorate blocked all access to Youtube. After the Turkish ban on Twitter, a new ban on Youtube was expected by experts and public. In the meantime, the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) imposed a media ban on the broadcast of the illegal recording and its content.

The voices of the illegal recording are believed to belong to Davutoğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Head Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Gürel. The high-level state officials talked the most likely scenarios in a war with Syria.

In a statement, the Ministry confirmed a meeting took place in which the situation regarding the Süleyman Shah Tomb was discussed, but that the leaked content was “distorted.”

Two weeks ago, following clashes between militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda breakaway group, and rival rebel groups in the area east of Aleppo near the Turkish border, Turkey threatened to retaliate against any attack on the tomb.

The Süleyman Shah Tomb, located 25 kilometers inside Syria, is officially Turkish land according to bilateral and international agreements from the early 1920s. With the escalation of tension inside northern Syria, there have been claims that a number of terrorist groups have threatened to attack the tomb unless its Turkish guards left.

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The Journal of Turkish Weekly

JTW is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

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