Turkey denies claims on disclosure of Israeli spies, intelligence chief
Ignatius said that Hakan Fidan(above), the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), was considered by Israeli authorities to be suspect due to his close ties to Tehran. Hürriyet PhotoTurkish government officials were quick to deny claims reported by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that Ankara blew the cover on a group of Israeli spies, disclosing their names to Iranian intelligence.
“Various campaigns both at international and national level are recently underway,” Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said from his hometown of Konya on Oct. 17, blaming those campaigns for trying to discredit the government’s “mission” and Ankara’s goal to raise Turkey’s global profile.
Ignatius had claimed in his Washington Post column that during a bitter period in bilateral relations, Turkey gave up the identities of around 10 Israelis to Tehran, who had been working with Israeli intelligence, in “an effort to slap the Israelis,” according to sources that Ignatius described as “knowledgeable.”
Also referring to another article published in the Wall Street Journal last week about the preponderance of Turkish Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan in Ankara’s Syria stance, Davutoğlu argued that the timing of both publications was “important.” Ignatius' article also mentions Fidan, claiming that he was considered by Israeli authorities to be suspect due to his close ties to Tehran.
“The claims on Hakan Fidan are not only unfounded but also an example of a very poor black propaganda,” Davutoğlu said.
Mustafa Varank, one of the prime minister’s advisers, also responded to Ignatius’ article, describing the report as “incoherent” via Twitter. Varank argued that Ignatius’ story clashed with the reality of intelligence agencies.
“Ignatius’ article is so incoherent. The intelligence world operates according to agreements,” he tweeted.
“The fall was going to get heated, wasn’t it?” he said in reference to predictions that the Gezi protests would restart after the summer. “Their predictions have not panned out, and for that reason, they have started a campaign against the reputation of the [Turkish] government and intelligence.”
Varank also said it was inevitable that some powers would launch psychological warfare against the government and its intelligence service with the upcoming elections.
‘Israel ran Iran spy network from Turkey’
Ignatius said in his column that Israeli intelligence had run part of its Iranian spy network through Turkey, due to the fact that “it had a relatively easy movement back and forth across its border with Iran.”
Ignatius further claimed that the spy ring conflict may have been the reason behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to apologize following the Gaza flotilla incident, in which nine Turks were killed by Israeli forces.
Netanyahu maintained harsh rhetoric for months after the incident before finally apologizing to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call in March.
The apology, however, failed to truly improve ties, Ignatius said.
The report contains further accusations against Fidan, some of which cite previous Washington Post stories, claiming the MİT chief passed Israeli and U.S. intelligence to Iranian recipients.