On November 24th, a former Major from an elite force part of the Special Forces Command (ÖKK) in the Turkish military – Nuri Gökhan Bozkır, gave an interview to the outlet Strana.
According to Bozkır, he was fired from the army on suspicion of disloyalty, as a result of another “purge” of the Turkish armed forces by the supporters of future Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who came to power.
After being discharged from the army in 2007 with the rank of captain, he went into business. And in this he was helped by the extensive contacts abroad, which the officer acquired during his service in the elite units of the Turkish armed forces.
In the interview he spoke of the booming business he began – smuggling weapons and other equipment to various countries in which there were armed conflicts – notably Syria.
Additionally, he carried out missions in Georgia, Iran, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Azerbaijan.
Syrian Turkmen tribes were the main recipients of goods from the former military officer’s company in 2012, when the civil conflicts in Syria escalated into open war, with outside participation as well.
Around that time, Bozkır reportedly received an offer from Khalil Harmid, the field commander of the Turkmen militia, to provide them arms instead of humanitarian supplies.
Khalil Karmid gave a guarantee that the Turkish authorities would treat such a business favorably. And he introduced Bozkır to Turkish intelligence officers, under whose control the arms deliveries were to be carried out.
The Syrian was primarily interested in small arms, ammunition for them, hand-held missile systems, explosives and also spare parts for weapons.
According to Bozkır, initially, people from the Turkish intelligence service MIT reacted negatively to his candidacy as a supplier of weapons for Syrian Turkomans, bearing in mind the reasons for his dismissal from the army.
“But the Syrian field commander Khalil Kharmid defended my candidacy, saying that he was already convinced of my reliability and honesty. His words outweighed all MIT doubts about my unreliability and disloyalty to the Turkish authorities, because I was once dismissed from the army on suspicion of this. Thus, I turned out to be the one who for several years transported weapons to Syria for the Turkoman military detachments that fought against Assad,” Bozkır said.
The financing of the supply of weapons, in Bozkır’s words, was carried out in a rather original way – seven containers arrived in the Turkish city bordering on Syria, filled with cash.
“If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed that this was possible. Seven containers with cash dollars arrived from Qatar. They were unloaded in front of me in secrecy – it was all controlled by the MIT intelligence. The containers were transported to the military base. gendarmerie under close protection. I received money without hindrance on a personal request, as much as was needed for the purchase of the next batch of weapons. I established a company for a dummy. With the support of MIT I was issued a document of the official final buyer of weapons – in this capacity, the document listed armed forces of Turkey. That is, I officially bought weapons, as it were for the Turkish army. After purchasing and receiving weapons, I transported them to my warehouse, and after that I sent them across the border to the Syrian-Turkoman troops. The Syrian side was completely controlled by the field commander Khalil Kharmid – he answered for the acceptance of goods,” the retired soldier said.
As per his story, he purchased weapons throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 2012 to 2015. That is, the suppliers were mainly the countries of the former Warsaw Pact and the CIS.
The average batch of weapons, depending on the type of “product”, cost from two to four million dollars. Bozkır also paid arms dealers in cash – a retired officer and his assistants carried the cash abroad with large suitcases and bags. The security and unhindered transportation of cash across the border was also guaranteed by the Turkish intelligence service MIT.
Between 2012 and 2015 Bozkır supplied 49 full transports with weapons to Turkmen. In Turkey, transports with weapons, which were taken out of his warehouse to the Turkish-Syrian border, were disguised just in case – food and vegetables were loaded on top of the boxes.
But this was just an additional precaution for those who were not in the subject – the Turkish police and border guards. The transfer of weapons through the Turkish-Syrian cordon was controlled by the MIT intelligence.
When delivering goods to his Syrian partners, Bozkır drew attention to the fact that the final cost of the transports with weapons and ammunition he transported was artificially inflated.
“During the purchase and transportation of weapons, the cost of each batch increased by an average of two to three million dollars. Cash was taken from the base, allegedly to pay for the goods. But this money did not reach me. I was given amounts that went to those who sold weapons The difference between the real cost of the goods and the final one was taken by people from MIT. They paid me quite modestly – for each batch of goods I received ten thousand dollars. The fiftieth batch of weapons I decided to ship on my own, at my own peril and risk. the fame of its curators from the Turkish intelligence service,” he explained.
The photograph below shows the last delivery he did as a businessman.
The shipment was disguised, but it was stopped by Turkish patrol police. As soon as his handlers found out, they suggested he left Turkey.
“I don’t know what happened next with this shipment of weapons. People from MIT harshly offered me to leave until the police arrested me. Two hours before my name appeared in the database of those wanted by the police, they bought me a ticket to Ukraine, where I already had wife and child, and escorted to the airport. At parting they said, they say, I need to sit out abroad while they resolve all issues on the detained goods,” he said.
He then emigrated to Ukraine and the former special forces soldier continued his business – his company won a tender for the supply of Ukrainian KRAZs to Bangladesh. But he could no longer return to Turkey – the former curators from MIT made it clear.
However, in 2018, influential businessmen close to the family of Turkish President Recep Erdogan approached him with a business proposal.
“Recep Sanjak, a relative of the head of the Turkish concern BMC, which produces buses, armored personnel carriers and tanks, turned to me.
This is the head of the BMC subsidiary.
He suggested that I start supplying weapons from Ukraine to Turkey and further to third world countries that are under sanctions UN. In return, he offered me to “resolve” all issues in Turkey, and the possibility of returning.
I then filed a lawsuit in the Turkish court for rehabilitation and the return of military rank. To check Recep’s readiness to really help me.
But no help came. And I refused. The investigation of my refusal was not long in coming – the Turkish authorities opened a criminal case against me, attributing to me the murder of the writer Necip Hablemitolu, which happened in 2002.
By the way, another person who is now in a Turkish prison in another case admitted to this murder long ago It was also hinted to me that I am now a dangerous and unwanted witness to illegal arms deals by the Turkish intelligence services.
Therefore, the Turkish authorities put me on the Interpol list. But the fate of such dangerous witnesses in Turkey is unenviable – for example, one of my acquaintances, also a former officer, died suddenly in a Turkish prison from a “heart attack,” he said.
On July 10th, 2019, Bozkır was detained in Kiev at the request of Turkey.
But the Ukrainian courts found no grounds for his extradition – the former military man has a residence permit in Ukraine, he has an official and legal business here.
He fears that he may be kidnapped. He thinks the same threatens other Turkish citizens who opposed Erdogan and were then taken out of Ukraine by Turkish special services with the assistance of the SBU.
Therefore, for the purpose of additional protection, he applied for political asylum. But the Ukrainian authorities have not yet taken a decision on this issue.
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