Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected claims about Turkey's intelligence chief as being “untrue” and a bad example of “black propaganda.”
Davutoglu told reporters on Thursday that the content and timing of a series of news reports about Turkey's intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, in Western media outlets were important.
Davutoglu's remarks came on the day that Washington Post columnist David Ignatius cited “knowledgeable sources” in saying the Turkish government had disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.
Sources described the Turkish action as a “significant loss of intelligence” and “an effort to slap the Israelis.”
Davutoglu said the claims about Fidan do not reflect the truth and that the first duty of a spy chief is to take the necessary measures for the security of the country. The foreign minister added that the claims about Fidan also indicated how perfectly he executed his duties.
The foreign minister also noted that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has significantly increased its capabilities with respect to gathering intelligence to confront possible risks and threats against Turkey, praising Fidan for developing the intelligence agency's institutional infrastructure with “extraordinary efforts.”
“The only ones who Hakan Fidan and other security units have to answer to is our nation, the Turkish Parliament and the government. For this reason, the claims about Hakan Fidan are both groundless and a very bad example of black propaganda.”
Regarding to the claims by Ignatius on sharing intelligence with Iran, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki declined to comment directly on the Washington Post story on Thursday, saying the position of the US on its relationship with Turkey has not changed.
During a daily press briefing on Thursday, Psaki said: “We work with Turkey closely. They're a close ally. We work with them on a range of issues, including counterterrorism. We're in close contact with a range of officials at all levels, including the Turkish intelligence chief.” She declined to answer a question asking if the US was concerned that Turkey may be hindering Israel from getting intelligence about Iran.
Earlier on Thursday, the Turkish foreign minister blamed various international and domestic campaigns for trying to discredit the government's “mission” and Ankara's goal of raising Turkey's global profile.
"Various campaigns both on an international and a national level are under way,” Davutoglu said from his hometown of Konya, a Central Anatolian city, which he was visiting to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Davutoglu said the campaigns against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, himself, Fidan and other senior officials were aimed at the “mission” that these officials have been undertaking for Turkey's progress. He said the government politicians would defy these orchestrated campaigns by “walking on this sacred path,” referring to the government's policies.
Davutoglu said the fact that “those circles” are disturbed by Turkish officials is a sign that “we are making strides on the right path.”
“There has been a campaign in the past three to four months to discredit our 10-year experience. They want to see the old Turkey return,” Davutoglu added.
Ignatius opined in his article that Israeli anger at the deliberate compromise of its agents may help explain why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became so entrenched in his refusal to apologize to Erdogan for a May 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.
Once-strong relations between Turkey and Israel hit the rocks in 2010 after Israeli commandos killed one Turkish-American and eight Turkish activists who were seeking to break Israel's long-standing naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Ignatius said top Israeli officials believe that, despite the apology, the severe strain with Erdogan continues. He cited Israeli intelligence officers as describing MİT chief Fidan to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials several years ago as “the [Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security] MOIS station chief in Ankara.”
Davutoglu also rejected the claims on Thursday, saying that "claims about Hakan Fidan are untrue."
He added that Israeli intelligence had apparently run part of its Iranian spy network through Turkey, adding that MİT had the resources to monitor Israeli-Iranian covert meetings.
In April 2012, Iran announced that it had broken up a large Israeli spy network and had arrested 15 suspects. It was not clear if this was connected to the alleged Turkish leak.
Ignatius stated that US officials assessed the incident as a problem of misplaced trust, rather than bad tradecraft. He cited one source describing the justification of US officials as saying that Mossad, after more than 50 years of cooperation with Turkey, never imagined that the Turks would “shop” Israeli agents to a hostile power.
The United States tried to broker reconciliation between its allies Turkey and Israel in March, persuading Netanyahu to apologize for the 2010 killings.
However, Israeli officials said subsequent attempts to build bridges by agreeing on a deal to compensate families of those killed in the Israeli naval raid had floundered.
"The only thing that we have achieved since March is to show the Americans that Erdogan is not remotely interested in reconciliation," said an Israeli diplomat, who declined to be named given the sensitivity surrounding the issue.
Psaki, during the press briefing on Thursday, also commented on the Turkish-Israeli normalization process that was initiated after Israeli apology to Turkey. The US State Department spokesperson described the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel as a “breakthrough” while saying that the US continues to press both sides to take steps to take tangible steps in this process.
“I don't think we need to evaluate it or give it a grade just a couple of months after that,” added Psaki, referring to the apology that came in late March.
According to a news report also published recently in The Wall Street Journal, Fidan reportedly directed a secret effort in Syria to bolster opposition groups' capabilities by allowing arms, including those coming from Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, money and logistical support to funnel into northern Syria, where radical groups are active. (Cihan/Today's Zaman)Last Mod: 19 Ekim 2013, 09:43