Ankara worries over PKK hunt of Turkish spies

Ankara worries over PKK hunt of Turkish spies

Ankara is deeply worried the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) might start a spy hunt within its ranks to find and kill Turkish agents following the probe opened last week in Istanbul on current and former heads of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) because of the way they communicated with the PKK upon Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s orders, intelligence sources told Hürriyet Daily News on Monday.

That came after Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ admitted in a Kanal7 TV interview on Sunday the probe on MİT had “unfortunately” exposed government agents in the PKK, which has been carrying out an armed campaign against Ankara for the last three decades. That was the first statement admitting Turkish security services had agents within the PKK, which has been rhetoric used by the PKK to justify the in-house killings by the PKK chiefs so far.

Turkish intelligence sources told HDN the probe opened by the Istanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Sadrettin Sarıkaya (from whom the probe responsibility was taken from his hands later on) was a “blow to the intelligence operations, not only the MİT but the police and gendarmerie as well” on the PKK and its alleged popular front the outlawed Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).

One source who wanted to remain anonymous explained the mechanism as follows: “There are various ways for intelligence organizations from an illegal organization. Sometimes they plant an agent and sometimes they convert somebody who is already in the organization. In either case it may take years to cultivate an agent or an informant in an illegal organization. The perspective of intelligence is different than law enforcement; sometimes the intelligence organizations turn a blind eye on smaller crimes of their agents in order to stop a bigger crime and also let its agent to rise in the ranks. The agents inside the illegal organizations simply risk their lives for the sake of public security and that is exactly what the government officials in Ankara are worried of now.”

There were two interesting pieces of news related to the issue on Monday. The first one was a statement by Zübeyr Aydar, one of the political spokesmen of the PKK, who was in contact with both the current head of the MİT, Hakan Fidan, and the former one, Emre Taner, now under the prosecutor’s arrest warrant. Aydar claimed it was not the PKK or MİT but the Turkish police who leaked the illegal recordings of the negotiations to the Internet on Sept. 13, 2011.

The other development was an AFP report based on the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) sources in Iraq that said the PKK had kidnapped three civilian Kurds on Jan. 27, one of which was found dead later on, because of being a Turkish agent and providing information to the Turkish side on the Uludere incident on Dec. 29, 2011, in which Turkish jets killed 35 smugglers mistaken as PKK militants.

The MİT had announced earlier they weren’t the ones who provided the ground intelligence on that matter.

The probe on MİT officials has caused disturbance within the government over “exceeded authority” of the prosecutors and led it to make an amendment in the MİT law to force them to ask for the prime minister’s approval first to interrogate them, which is expected to be taken to Parliament today under the current circumstances.

MIT, espionage,