ANKARA, Turkey, (AP) – Turkish authorities seized weapons hidden among construction materials on a Syria-bound train from Iran after Kurdish guerrillas bombed and derailed the train, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
The cargo was discovered when authorities checked containers on the train, which was attacked by separatist Kurdish guerrillas on May 25 near the town of Genc in southeastern Bingol province, Prosecutor Ismail Sari told reporters Wednesday.
The bomb attack derailed seven of the train’s cars, Sari said. Authorities were investigating the incident, and would also check cargo on the rest of the train, he said.
The Iranian Embassy issued a statement Wednesday denying that the weapons belonged to Iran, and said the allegations were being made “by circles” aiming to disrupt Turkey’s close relations with Iran.
Earlier Wednesday, a government official said the cargo included machine guns and pistols. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The private Dogan news agency said the cargo included a rocket launch pad and 300 rockets, as well as other weapons and ammunition.
Turkish authorities suspect Iran is using Turkey as a transit point to send arms to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement via Syria.
On Tuesday evening, Turkish authorities forced a Syrian plane flying from Iran to land in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir and searched it for weapons. No arms were found.
Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO, borders both Iran and Syria. It has good relations with Israel and its Arab neighbors and has contributed troops to the U.N.-led peacekeeping force in Lebanon.