US leaked German eavesdropping
German magazine Der Spiegel reported last week that the German intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey since 2009. The very next day, Germany’s Ambassador to Turkey, Eberhart Pohl, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which thereafter released a written statement, calling the news “allegations.” Following Pohl’s meeting, I visited the ministry and talked to a top official in order to learn what lies beneath.
He started our conversation by validating the allegations. Then why has this fact been disclosed by a German magazine? The official surprisingly said the U.S. might have leaked this to the German press. Apparently the verb “might have” means “has” if it comes out of the mouth of a top official.
Then why has the U.S. done this? You will remember that it was leaked last October that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been monitored by the American NSA. This caused a major crisis between the two countries when Merkel reacted very strongly saying “spying among friends is not acceptable at all.”
Now the U.S. is taking revenge by revealing Germany’s dirty laundry. This is why the same news piece at Spiegel said Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton have also been eavesdropped on by Germany.
Then why did the U.S. use Turkey when taking revenge? This is not a coincidence at all. The very next day after the leak, the German press alleged that Turkey denied access to German planes carrying humanitarian aid to Yazidis to land at İncirlik Airbase. Yet, the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied this claim.
The same day, the German press also released information that Germany is getting ready to deliver military aid to Yazidis in northern Iraq.
Following this, the head of the Beirut office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation said on German state television that the EU and U.S. might take the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) off of the list of terrorist organizations in the case of Turkey and the PKK’s rapprochement.
The same discussion is going on in Washington. The Center for American Progress (CAP), which is a think tank associated with the Democrat Party, published a report last week where it suggests delisting the PKK from the list of terrorist organizations.
These all hint to the same fact: The West is not satisfied with Turkey’s policy toward the Kurds. This is also why the former head of the German intelligence agency just stated that the aim of eavesdropping has been the Kurds.
This has two main pillars: Domestically, it is expected that the ongoing peace process will transform Turkey’s relationship with the PKK and Turkey will remove the PKK from the “terrorist” category.
The second pillar is regional. Europe stands ahead of Turkey in terms of the issue of Kurdish independence. The top official I spoke with said this leak might be aiming at making Turkey more familiar with the idea of independence.
There is also another dimension: The predominant view in the West is Turkey does not show the same sensitivity to the Yazidis as it does to the Sunni Muslim groups. The Foreign Ministry official denies this, sharing with me the numbers displaying their support. He alleges the main target of this leak is Turkey’s support for Sunni groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Apparently, the West wants Turkey to put more distance toward these groups and on the other hand get closer to the Kurds in the region, including northern Syria. The fact that Kurds appear as their strongest ally against the Islamic State (IS) is one the main reasons behind this intention.
The U.S. seems to have killed several birds with one stone. Germany, on the other hand, which looks to be victimized by this leak, is apparently enjoying this crisis, using it to reveal its discontent toward Turkey in every sense.