Well, was it the US intercepting the official crypto phones?
The Guardian, which I think is the best newspaper of the U.K., printed a series in June 2013 that shook the world. The source of the news stories was Edward Snowden, an American born in 1983. Snowden was working at a sub-contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA), the worldwide electronic intelligence agency of the U.S.
Snowden had escaped to Hong Kong after copying a huge amount of documents from his workplace; meanwhile, he met Glenn Greenwald from The Guardian and his partner Laura Poitras. He handed over the documents to the journalist while disclosing himself in a recorded interview, explaining why he leaked them.
Both the American public and the Western world were shaken as a result of Snowden’s leaks. Information in the leaks revealed the U.S. had tapped the phone of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and British intelligence had bugged the hotel room and phones of Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek while he attended an international meeting in London.
Because Turkey was rocked by Gezi’s incidents at the time, Snowden and his leaks were not adequately conveyed to the public and the developments afterward were not sufficiently covered in the media as well.
Snowden escaped to Moscow; after living in the airport for 39 days, he was granted the right to asylum in the city, where he still lives. British police raided The Guardian’s headquarters and erased the computer discs to which Snowden’s documents were uploaded.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, who had written the story of Snowden’s documents for The Guardian and who has Snowden’s special trust, set out to construct his own Internet news portal, “The Intercept,” with an incredibly large capital base provided by eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar.
The Snowden documents were now only in Greenwald’s possession and not accessible to American or British courts. Apparently the documents amounted to a very huge pile and Greenwald did not have the time to review and write about them all.
But now, 14 months after Snowden handed over the documents to him, we know he found the time. Within the documents, he found NSA operations and the U.K.’s electronic intelligence agency GCHQ’s operations in Turkey. (In order to have its name heard, “The Intercept” gave these stories to the prestigious German magazine Der Spiegel, for both joint publications.)
Turkey has been talking about this matter for days now. I learned for the first time from these documents about such a deep and large relationship between Turkish intelligence services and the American NSA, even though I am interested in these subjects. We learned the NSA had an official office of 40 people in Ankara and that this organization sold technology, knowledge and training to GES, our electronic intelligence organization operating within the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Given that in the past it was America that had paid the MİT’s salaries, it could be regarded as an “advancement” to be upgraded to the buying of services.
I don’t know who was surprised at the attempts of the U.S., the U.K. or Germany to eavesdrop on important places in Turkey. The disclosure of such things, however, at the end of the day, is an embarrassment for both the eavesdropper and eavesdropped. That shame is taking place right now, and that is all.
These days we have another embarrassment unique to us that nobody has even thought about, however.
In order to avoid wiretapping from “friendly” countries, countries such as Turkey have their own decrypting systems for critical communication. The crypto phones produced by TÜBİTAK, for example, were assigned to officials just for this purpose – so that the U.S., U.K., Germany and others would not be able to intercept the these top statesmen’s conversations.
You know that our outstanding statesmen have announced that the 65 crypto phones assigned to officials occupying critical positions were tapped. Well, who did this? Was it the U.S., U.K. Germany or was it an “inside” job?
The highest possibility, I think, is the eavesdropping was conducted through the “phone cloning” method. We do not know who intercepted these TÜBİTAK phones, but in order to do it, cooperation with an “insider” is necessary. When I say “insider,” I mean someone from the place where the software installed in these phones is produced by TÜBİTAK. Only through this method, for example, can the MİT undersecretary call the prime minister, while a third phone may introduce itself to the system as the prime minister’s phone, while the decoded conversation between the two is reflected on this third phone.
Well, who is this collaborator and with whom, I wonder, was he cooperating?
I think the interception of these crypto phones is the biggest security scandal of the republic; but we are blatantly forgetting and are being forced to forget about it.