Who is spying on Turkey and for whom?

Who is spying on Turkey and for whom?

On his way back to Brussels, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 22 that he had “explained” to top European Union (EU) officials that the removal of judges and prosecutors from their offices following the Dec. 17 graft operation was not aiming at a political intervention to judiciary, but for cleaning the judiciary from a “parallel,” covert structure within the system; he hoped the Europeans understood the situation.

The general public perception is when Erdoğan says “parallel structure within the state” he means the sympathizers of Fethullah Gülen (a U.S.-resident moderate Islamist scholar) in bureaucracy, universities and judiciary, who used to be one of Erdoğan’s main allies up until recently. Yet, Erdoğan has not directly mentioned Gülen’s name, so instead of assumptions, it is better to stick with the “parallel” jargon of Erdoğan.

Erdoğan, said this “parallel structure,” ”blackmails politicians, track telephone lines, bug houses and with visual devices, too, manipulate collective court decisions to legitimize telephone taps,” and work as “agents and spies who disclose state secrets”.

If the prime minister is saying there is a secret organization spying on Turkey within the state structure that has been governed by himself for the last 12 years, this has to be taken seriously.

On Jan. 21, addressing a group of Turkish businessmen in Brussels, Erdoğan also said the “parallel structure” had, “contradicted the government on issues regarding Mavi Marmara, Syria and Palestine.” He said, “The national intelligence organization (MİT) of a country could only be targeted by an enemy country.”

With the last sentence, Erdoğan is referring to the Jan. 19 raid on a convoy of trucks on their way to Syria by a local prosecutor and the gendarmerie. The truck was escorted by MİT officers and the government intervened and blocked the search of the cargo. Erdoğan had signaled “legal proceedings” based on this case Jan. 20, before he took off for Brussels.

My impression, after a number of telephone calls with official sources, is a probe and a court case could come soon with accusations like “betrayal to” and “spying on” the country against a number of official position holders and perhaps businessmen. According to sources, such a probe could have links with the bugs reportedly found in the home-office of PM Erdoğan in 2012.

If there is espionage, there are three questions to ask: Who is the spy, or spies? For whom the spy or spies are working for? And where is the court case?

It is not likely the government would fancy accusations against EU countries or the USA, especially following a joint press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State on Jan. 13 and Erdoğan’s trip to Brussels. They are not considered “enemy” governments by Erdoğan, anyway. The governments which are not considered as friendly by Erdoğan nowadays are Syria, Egypt and Israel. Actually, Israel could be a strong candidate for accusations if one considers the “three contradictions” the PM has listed. But since there is no official mention of Israel (as with the case of Gülen) so far, it would not be fair to make any assumptions. Yet, it is fair to ask which country is to be blamed for, if there is an espionage ring and if there will be a court case at all, as Turkey heads for a critical election.