NCRI – Turkish authorities have seized rifles on a Syria-bound Iranian plane, grounded since the weekend, and questioned its seven-man crew, police and judicial sources told AFP on Tuesday.
The cargo plane was ordered to land in Diyarbakir on Saturday night on suspicion that it had military or illicit cargo on board.
The plane had declared a cargo of spare car parts, but the inspection resulted also in the discovery of a box containing automatic rifles, a police source told AFP.
The crew was taken to a police station for questioning and argued that the weapons were on board as part of routine security measures, declining to give additional information, the source told AFP.
A Turkish foreign ministry official described the search of the plane as a “routine” procedure under “an over flight permission with the condition of technical landing.” He would not give other details.
The private Dogan news agency had reported earlier that the crew was detained following the discovery of weapons and ammunition on board.
After a search lasting several hours, the plane was found to be carrying 150 tonnes of food but “no material contrary to international standards,” AFP reported, citing security sources.
The planes were forced to land on a request from the United States on suspicion that they carried “nuclear material and weapons,” AFP cited a Turkish newspaper as reporting.