Turkey says arms shipment to Yemen was an illegal initiative

ANKARA - In response to media reports that Dubai police have foiled a bid to smuggle 16,000 guns from Turkey to Yemen, Turkey said Friday that arms shipment to Yemen was an illegal action.

"The mentioned arms shipment was not a consignment based on a permission from Turkish authorities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said.

Earlier reports claimed that a ship carrying guns arrived in United Arab Emirates after stopping by a port in Egypt. The shipment was on its way to anti-regime protestors in Yemen, it was claimed.

Unal said Turkey was very cautious on demands for arms exports to countries experiencing unrest or at risk of an armed conflict, adding that Turkey paid utmost attention to such exports in a way that shipments would not create instability.

"It is impossible to talk about a permission of Turkish authorities for such an arms shipment that could cause loss of lives in Yemen. Details on arms shipments from Turkey are shared transparently in international platforms," Unal said.

An investigation into the shipment is underway, he added.

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