Earlier today we reported that the Turkish coast guard had boarded a vessel belonging to Mr Caginer, a well know TRNC businessman. They had found a large quantity of Kalashnikov rifles and bullets. The boat has been seized and arrests made.
This afternoon, Mr Caginer produced a press statement on behalf of his company Akgunler Maritime, which owns the boat.
In his statement he says that his company has been operating the Girne-Tasucu and Alanya-Mersin route for the past four years. It has been carrying both tractors and passengers. During all this time the responsibility for verifying the cargo has fallen to the various ports’ customs officials.
Mr Caginer continued that on February 14th, his boat, the Via Mare left the port of Tripoli in Libya carrying a cargo of 41 tractors and 100 passengers, bound for Tasucu . There, 9 tractors loaded with generators bound for Baghdad were classified as suspicious and sent to Mersin Port for closer inspection. In one of these tractors, 8 rifles and ammunition was discovered. The Turkish authorities seized the weapons, the truck and its driver.
Mr Caginer stressed again that control of the loaded cargo is the responsibility of the port authorities; the ships personnel have no involvement or authority with the cargo. The boat is now continuing on its course.
He ended by saying that the press had based their earlier stories on speculation and guesswork and that he would be looking for legal remedy against them.