Investigations have revealed that hundreds of hand grenades seized from a truck in Ankara a few months ago and the grenades and explosives seized during the Ergenekon investigation have continuous serial numbers.
On March 10 of this year, police in the capital were alerted by a whistleblower about a civilian truck filled with weapons and around 900 hand grenades. The truck was stopped by Ankara police in the Ümitköy district while on route to the Special Forces Command in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district.
The vehicle, which was traveling without a protective security escort, was stopped by police after they received an e-mail from an unidentified individual. The e-mail alleged that the weapons and hand grenades in the truck were intended for distribution to violent groups in the cities in eastern and southeastern Turkey on March 21 during Nevruz, the Kurdish New Year’s celebration. The munitions were to be used in clashes between civilians and security forces.
Of the hand grenades seized from the truck, 125 have continuous serial numbers with the explosives seized in a shanty house in Ümraniye three years ago, and 12 of them have continuous serial numbers with munitions found in the home of Lt. Col. Mustafa Dönmez on Jan. 7 of last year. Dönmez was sentenced to four years in prison by the General Staff Military Court in a ruling announced on Feb. 5 and was discharged from the military for being responsible for weapons found buried in Ankara’s Zir Valley in January last year.
In addition, 25 bombs have continuous serial numbers with the two bombs that were seized after digs in Poyrazköy in April last year.
A further 130 hand grenades have continuous serial numbers with the bombs seized in 2007 from Ahmet Cinali, the deputy chairman of the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB).
Some of the grenades have also been found to have continuous serial numbers with others seized in various other incidents in recent years.
In an interview with the Milliyet daily at the time of the seizure of the munitions in March, Chief of Staff General Gen. İlker Başbuğ and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Arslan Güner acknowledged negligence in not requesting a police escort for the civilian truck carrying dozens of weapons and around 900 hand grenades belonging to the military.
“The Special Forces Command informed Ankara Central Command and gendarmerie branches in cities that the truck would travel through, about the transport of ammunition. For various reasons, the command and gendarmerie branches, however, did not forward the truck’s request for a police escort to local police departments. We need to acknowledge that there is a deficiency at this point,” Güner said. Gen. Güner criticized civilian prosecutors who launched a probe into the weapon-filled truck without informing military officials about the e-mail.