Hit back if Germany is spying on Turkey, Turkish minister tells intel agency

Hit back if Germany is spying on Turkey, Turkish minister tells intel agency

DENİZLİ – Doğan News Agency
Hit back if Germany is spying on Turkey, Turkish minister tells intel agency

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi, accompanied by his wife, addresses his party's supporters in Denizli. AA photo

A Turkish minister has criticized the country’s national intelligence agency over recent reports of German spying, urging them to fight back the espionage attempts.

“If the German intelligence eavesdrops on Turkey, the job of our intelligence agency is to prevent them from doing so,” Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi told reporters in the western province of Denizli late Aug. 29.

“And in retaliation, our intelligence should eavesdrop on them. Although we are allies [with Germany], this is what I think on the issue. If there is an order to spy on the prime ministers, the ministers, this has no place in friendship, but you shall not let them spy on you,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Efkan Ala met his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, in Ankara Aug. 30, and voiced Ankara’s concerns over the spying reports.

“I told the esteemed minister that such things cannot be accepted,” Ala said at a joint press conference after the meeting. “We agreed [with Maiziere] that our intelligence units will come together to resolve the issue.” 

Maiziere said he understood the questions and concerns of Ankara.

“Intelligence is never openly shared with the public,” the German minister said. “It is also not possible to discuss such an issue openly in press conferences. Our intelligence units will come together and take the issue off the agenda as soon as possible,” he added.

Ala said Turkey and Germany have strong ties and the interior ministers of the two countries will meet once a year to directly resolve problems.

On Aug. 18, Turkey summoned the German ambassador and called for a full explanation following Der Spiegel magazine’s report that the BND foreign intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey for years and identified Ankara as a top surveillance target in an internal government document from 2009. 

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry described the report as “absolutely unacceptable,” if true. 
Turkey’s then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called his German counterpart, Frank-Walter  Steinmeier, late Aug. 18 to personally express his government’s anger after media reports claimed Germany’s intelligence agency had spied on Turkey, its NATO ally. 

The two ministers agreed that the chiefs of the two countries’ intelligence services, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), and Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), should come together in the shortest time and the German side should give an explanation to the Turkish side.