Turkey said to mull nixing Mossad ops in country

Report of Ankara blowing Israeli agents’ cover part of a smear campaign against Turkish intelligence chief, columnist hints

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, in June (photo credit: AP)
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, in June (photo credit: AP)

Turkey’s intelligence chief plans to recommend to his government that it annul secret agreements with Israel that allow Mossad agents to operate freely on Turkish soil, a Turkish columnist reported.

Abdulkadir Selvi, a senior columnist for the Yeni Safak newspaper, surmised in his report Tuesday that the recommendation was the reason behind recent negative reports in international media concerning Turkish National Intelligence Organization Chief Hakan Fidan.

His statement was apparently an oblique reference to a report last week according to which Fidan deliberately blew the cover of Mossad agents operating in Iran. Safak is affiliated with Turkey’s ruling AKP party.

Turkey made the secret deals with the Mossad in a period when the Turkish elected government did not have full control over its territory, Selvi wrote, in an apparent reference to the period when the Turkish army exerted more influence in the country.

Recent years have seen an aggressive campaign by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to curb the power of the military — whose top brass enjoyed good ties with their Israeli counterparts — in the country. 

Fidan plans to submit Erdogan in the coming days a formal recommendation to rescind the deal with Israel, Safak wrote.

Last Thursday, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius reported that in early 2012, Fidan disclosed to Iran the identities of 10 Iranian Mossad assets who had been secretly meeting with their case agents in Turkey.

Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan (YouTube Screenshot)
Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan (YouTube Screenshot)

Knowledgeable sources said the incident resulted in a “significant” loss of intelligence, describing the alleged Turkish actions as “an effort to slap the Israelis.”

Turkey denied the allegations, saying they were an attempt on Israel’s part to undermine Turkey’s growing role in the region and to avoid paying compensation to the families of the nine Turkish nationals killed in the takeover of the ship Mavi Marmara en route to the Gaza Strip in 2010.

The already declining relationship between Jerusalem and Turkey’s Islamic rulers soured in the wake of the Marmara incident.

According to a Turkish report Monday, the US Congress canceled a deal to supply Ankara with 10 Predator drones in response to the Turkish government’s alleged disclosure to Iran of the Israeli agents’ identities.

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