Turkish weapons factory owner questioned over Dubai haul

Owner of Istanbul weapons factory is questioned by Turkish police over a violation of Turkish laws governing the production of firearms.

The owner of a weapons factory in Istanbul was being questioned by Turkish police yesterday, three weeks after a shipment of 16,000 guns was intercepted in Dubai en route from Turkey to Yemen.

"Irfan Bey is at the police right now," a secretary at the company said, referring to Irfan Akdal. Police visited the factory and confiscated more than 2,000 guns, according to Milliyet newspaper. Mr Akdal is suspected of a violation of Turkish laws governing the production of firearms, the newspaper said.

Mr Akdal told The National last week that the weapons seized in Dubai looked like blank-firing guns from his factory, and said his company complied with all export rules. Dubai Police insisted the guns were potentially lethal.

A Turkish diplomat said the government in Ankara was treating the affair as a purely criminal matter.

Turkish investigators are also studying the background of the Turkish citizen arrested in Dubai in connection with the weapons seizure, according to Milliyet.

The man, named by Milliyet as Faik Gurbuz, was arrested recently in the southern Turkish province of Hatay on the Syrian border on charges related to the discovery of fake Glock and Walther guns, according to the newspaper. The guns seized in Dubai also included brand-fake Walther pistols.

Mr Gurbuz was released after spending four days in custody, Milliyet reported.

Meanwhile prosecutors in Dubai yesterday announced the end of their investigation into the weapons seizure.

Police revealed last week that they had intercepted the shipment bound for Yemen, hidden in boxes of furniture, on March 9. The weapons originated in Turkey and travelled through Egypt before arriving in Dubai.

Six people arrested in connection with the case have been referred to state security prosecutors.

The Dubai attorney general, Essam al Humaidan, said: "As the charges of importing and transporting weapons without a licence falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court, the case has been referred to the UAE attorney general and the state security prosecution department."


* Thomas Seibert reported from Istanbul and Wafa Issa from Dubai