Turkey has deployed additional tanks and armored vehicles at the border with Syria in late Wednesday as the country is grappling with the shattering revelations from a trial in New York City.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately convened senior members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for an emergency meeting to discuss how to contain fallout from Iran sanctions trial where Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab delivered a damaging testimony.
Mr. Zarrab who became a witness in the high-profile trial confessed that he bribed former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan up to 50 million euros and $7 million in exchange for help to use state-owned Halkbank in his sanctions-evasion theme.
As he continued to testify in a Manhattan courtroom, Turkish Parliament unraveled into a fighting between ruling AKP lawmakers and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies over Mr. Zarrab.
Soon after AKP emergency meeting, pro-government media reported about the deployment of forces to the border.
Suriye sınırına askeri sevkiyat pic.twitter.com/4pLrwI8ATx
— Akşam Gazetesi (@Aksam) November 29, 2017
On Wednesday, Turkey’s top political body signaled the expansion of its military mission to Afrin, which is under control of Syrian Kurdish militia.
“It’s been considered that the observation mission of the Turkish armed forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone is continuing successfully, and such a mission being performed near Western Aleppo and Afrin would provide a real environment of peace and safety,” Turkey’s National Security Council said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Turkey views Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) as affiliated with domestic insurgent group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara is particularly incensed with U.S. cooperation with the group. Under pressure from its NATO ally, the U.S. said it would reconsider its policy of arms supply to the group.
On Tuesday, CNN Turk reported that YPG opened fire on a Turkish border post, wounding one soldier. It triggered a response from the Turkish troops who struck YPG positions with artillery fire.