A Turkish report claimed Monday that the US Congress canceled a deal to supply Ankara with 10 Predator drones because the Turkish government had blown the cover of several Iranian intelligence assets who were working with Israel.
According to the daily Taraf, the head of Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan, exposed the 10 Iranians — who had secretly been meeting with Mossad handlers — to the Islamic Republic more than three years ago, after the Israeli takeover of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the operation, which led to Ankara’s all but freezing its relations with Israel.
The US drones were to be delivered to Turkey in mid-2012, but according to the report, Congress canceled the deal because of the growing cooperation between the Turkish and Iranian intelligence services.
Breaking the story of the Iranians and their alleged Mossad handlers last Thursday, the Washington Post cited “knowledgeable sources” who said the “deliberate compromise” of Israel’s agents by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government constituted a “significant” loss of intelligence and can be interpreted as “an effort to slap the Israelis.”
Following the Washington Post report, which said the intelligence breach occurred in 2012, Turkey pointed to Israel, claiming it was behind a “media campaign” against Ankara.
“We see this media campaign as an attack and there might be an Israeli effort behind it,” the Turkish Daily Hurriyet quoted an unnamed Turkish intelligence source as saying. “Especially after the Washington Post story on Oct. 17 and the follow-ups with Jerusalem bylines,” the source added.
Israel and Turkish negotiation teams have been working over the past few months to reach an agreement over compensation to families of those who died in the Mavi Marmara incident. In March, Israel-Turkish relations began to thaw following a President Barack Obama-brokered call by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Erdogan to deliver a formal apology for operational errors made in the raid and to promise compensation.