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U.S. guns given to Iraq wind up in Turkey

UPI | September 12, 2007

Weapons the U.S. military gave to Iraqi security forces have been used to commit violent crimes in Turkey, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Pentagon officials said Wednesday that authorities in Turkey have recovered U.S.-supplied guns throughout the past year.

It is unclear how many weapons have been found in the country. While some officials say dozens, others claim the numbers are in the hundreds.

There are also different theories regarding how the guns turned up in Turkey.

Pentagon officials said they didn't have evidence Iraqi security forces or Kurdish officials were selling or giving the weapons to Kurdish separatists, as Turkish officials have claimed, the Times said.

Instead, the weapons may have been stolen or lost during skirmishes and smuggled into Turkey through Iraq’s extensive firearms black market.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has expressed concerns that the methods used to inventory weapons provided to Iraqis are inadequate.

The department’s inspector general is heading to Iraq next week to investigate the problem, officials said.

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