Turkish, British intel agencies likely to boost dialogue

Turkish, British intel agencies likely to boost dialogue

Changes at the helm of the secret services attract attention all over the world. If these changes are observed in institutions like the U.K.’s MI6, the U.S.’s CIA, Israel’s Mossad and Russia’s FSB (formerly KGB), they attract much more attention.

The promotion of Richard Moore as the general director of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6, one of the most effective intelligence institutions in the world, has, therefore, widely resonated globally, particularly among the intelligence communities, diplomats and government officials.

For obvious reasons, his rise to the top position of the British secret service has been very much welcomed in Turkey as thousands of social media users congratulated him and expressed rejoice at his promotion.

Moore, who served as the British Ambassador to Ankara between 2014 and 2018, did not only establish a very strong diplomatic and bureaucratic network in Ankara but also strong bonds with the Turkish people from all walks of life.
Thanks to his fluency in Turkish and his effective use of social media, as well as his love for Turkey’s one of the top three football clubs, Beşiktaş, Moore has become one of the most popular foreign diplomats in Turkey.

His tenure in Ankara was not an easy one, tough. Among many others, steering Ankara-London ties following the Brexit referendum and post-July 15 coup attempt in Turkey has overwhelmed his agenda.

On the former, Moore, along with his successor Ambassador Dominick Chilcott, has been the architect of a new and empowered relationship between the U.K and Turkey, two non-EU NATO allies one on the
northern flank and the other on the southern.

In an interview with this columnist in 2018 under his capacity as the director-general for Political Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Moore had envisaged that Turkey and the U.K. “will be in a club of two,” expecting a special relationship once the latter leaves the European Union.

On the latter, he was the first Western official blaming FETÖ for the coup attempt, while praising the Turkish people’s stance against the plotters, creating a huge difference in Turkish-British dialogue.

From this context, one may suggest that Moore’s promotion as the head of the MI6 would result in even closer cooperation between the two countries through creating a special channel with National Intelligence Organization (MİT) led by Hakan Fidan.

This also comes as MİT’s role in Turkey’s security and foreign policies is in a process of expanding, as stated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week. He particularly cited the Turkish army’s engagements in Syria and Libya as well as in the fight against terror outside the Turkish territories. Thus, more dialogue and cooperation between MI6 and MİT should not be surprising for anybody.

As a matter of fact, the bilateral cooperation in the field of security, particularly on the anti-terrorism combat, is already very good and satisfying both governments. Under Moore’s helm, one may only envisage a deeper and effective institutional relationship between the two intelligence services.

Serkan Demirtaş, Britain,