AKCAKALE, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish authorities said they had seized thousands of guns in a warehouse by the Syrian border, and a local news agency said the weapons had been destined for Turkey’s war-torn neighbor.
The firearms - including more than 5,000 shotguns and rifles, starting pistols, gunstocks and 10,000 cartridges - were discovered during a raid in a village on the edge of the Turkish town of Akcakale and displayed to journalists on Friday.
The Dogan News Agency said the weapons were being stored on the edge of the border town, awaiting delivery to Syria, and that the 35-year-old depot owner had been detained.
It quoted police sources as saying the firearms had a market value of around 3 million lira ($1.7 million).
Turkey is a staunch supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now in its third year, and has harbored Syrian refugees and rebels crossing over the two countries’ porous 900-km (550-mile) border.
But it has ruled out arming rebel fighters, fearing it could be drawn into a destabilizing regional conflict.
Turkey has a number of firearms manufacturers and the starting pistols found in the warehouse could easily be converted to fire live ammunition.
Reporting by Kadir Celikcan; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Andrew Roche