Arts & Life
Turkey’s intelligence agency opens digital museum of espionage
Turkey’s intelligence agency opens digital museum of espionage
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has opened an online museum dedicated to the history of espionage on its website. From Turkish intelligence reports on Lawrence of Arabia to curious gadgets for espionage, you can click through for the stories from MİT’s digital museum.
A wiretapping device installed in a telephone at a Turkish embassy in Asia was discovered in 1982. In the language of intelligence officials, such devices are called “repaired.”
This belt, which has a secret microphone, was used in Turkey's intelligence operations until the 1990s.
This is one of the newest objects on display at the Turkish intelligence digital museum.
It is a wiretapping device found inside a plug unit in a Turkish embassy in Europe in 2002.
During the repairs inside a Turkish embassy building in Europe in 1976, Turkish officials noticed that one brick’s color was strangely different than the others.
They cracked the brick and found this remote-controlled, battery-operated wiretapping device inside. The brick layer was interrogated as a result.
A camera with a width of 1.5 centimeters was inside MİT’s “robot tie,” which was used by Turkish agents from 1965 to 1980.
The robot tie also disguised a cable inside, which was connecting the hidden camera with the transmitter and the recorder on the agent’s body.
A body weight scale with a hidden transmitter was found at the house of a spy, who was nabbed by MİT in a counter-intelligence operation.
This is the shoe of a spy who was working against Turkey until he was outed.
The shoe has a special heel section.
The microphone inside the heel was allowing the live broadcast of the nearby conversations.
This briefcase was designed to quickly photograph secret documents.
With its camera and lighting equipment, it was like a portable photo studio for Turkish agents.
This cigarette package seems ordinary at first glance.
Actually, it hides a wiretapping device.
A watch with a microphone inside to allow it to record conversations on a tape when connected to a voice recorder.
A code guide found in the house of a spy working for a foreign service, who was sentenced in Turkey to 27.5 years in prison over espionage.
MİT was keeping its own code guides inside these portable cases with a bone handle.
This is the first electronic cryptography device produced by Turkish engineers at TESTAŞ. It was used by MİT from 1985 to 1995.
The founding document of MİT’s predecessor, National Security Service (MAH or MEH), signed on Jan. 6, 1926 by then Chief of Military Staff and Field Marshall Fevzi Çakmak.
The cabinet approval of the establishment of Turkey’s MAH, signed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on Dec. 19, 1926.
This looks like an ordinary lighter but it is actually a voice recorder with a rechargable battery and USB connection.
The first official envelope used by MAH, inscribed with Ottoman Turkish letters.
A wiretapping device disguised as an old radio.
A MAH document from 1927. Despite Turkey’s switch to Latin alphabet in 1928, its intelligence agency kept using Ottoman letters until the 1950s in its correspondence as an extra layer of encryption.
A glasses cover with a hidden voice recorder was used by MİT agents until the 1990s.
A report from June 1930 from Turkish counter-intelligence agents in Cairo noting the activities of famous British spy Lawrence of Arabia in Egypt’s capital.
A 1931 follow-up report by MAH agents on the activities of Lawrence of Arabia in northern Iraq.
A communication officer was scanning radio signals with his own amateur radio in a Turkish embassy in Europe in 1971. He was shocked that he could be hearing conversation inside the ambassador’s room on one channel.
After he notified the officials about the discovery, a search was conducted in the ambassador’s room and a wiretapping device was found inside the air-conditioning unit.
A wiretapping equipment described as “piped microphone” found by MAH agents at the office of a Turkish ambassador in a European capital in 1969
A diaphone that is capable of eavesdropping nearby rooms was found in the tea service room of a Turkish embassy in Europe in 1965. The tea server was outed as a spy.
A Revox B77 was used for a long time by Turkish agents starting from 1984.
It is the kind of live wiretapping and recording device that you can see in movies.
An in-wall wiretapping system found in a Turkish embassy in Europe in 1964.
Parts of a similar system
A peeking pipe found inside the wall of a Turkish embassy in Europe in 1986.
Peeking pipes found in the Turkish embassy and the ambassador’s residence in a European country in 1986 and 1988
A total of 12 wiretapping devices were found in the Turkish embassy in Europe in 1988.
A ball point pen with wiretapping capabilities
This device developed by MİT engineers was able to wiretap five lines at once. A red light was blinking when there is a call on the target line.
If there were more than one call at once, then the “Monitoring Device For Five” was allowing the agent to listen to one of them live and record the rest.
“Monitoring Device For Five” was an upgrade to earlier inventions of MİT engineers.
These earlier devices, which could wiretap up to four telephone lines at once were called the ÖSA series, titled by the initials of the Turkish engineers’ names.
Another device developed by MİT engineers was used in the 1980s to identify phone numbers which called a target.
This is Alper-1, MİT’s first wiretapping device that could record digitally to a computer.
This Motorola SEC9600 DVI-encrypted telephone was used by MİT and other secret services for satellite communication.
This Minox 35 was known among intelligence officers during the Cold War as “the spy cam.” It was first produced by Walter Zapp in 1937 and MİT started to use it in 1939.
Tessina 35 was a 35 mm. miniature camera designed by Rudolph Steineck in 1957 and developed until 1995. It was even smaller than Minox 35 and MİT used it from 1970 to 1985.
Another Cold War favorite camera was the Robot Star, produced in Germany in the 1950s. It was used by MİT until 1985.
MİT agents were carefully placing a Robot Star camera inside these leather handbags. The camera lens was peeking out from a notch on the buckle, covered by a thin layer of black cloth.
Turkish agents were calling it the “Robot hand bag.”
Table sets with the logo of MAH, the predecessor of MİT, were used in the premises of Turkey’s intelligence agency from 1965 to 1995.
Video cassettes became increasingly popular in Turkey starting from the 1970s.
Turkish intelligence agents used it as an opportunity to put hidden cameras and wiretapping devices inside S-VHS video cassettes.
Pigeons were also used in espionage operations during the Cold War.
“News pigeons” were popular among spies who wanted to convey encrypted messages between short distances.
What looks like an ordinary soap could be a tool of spies. A message could be hidden inside.
There are other objects that were used to transmit secret messages, like this rocket...
The back of this ashtray...
This napkin on which a secret message was written with a “photocopy” technique. The message could be read by applying a special chemical whose formula was also stored in encrypted form.
Turkey’s MİT used this method from the 1960s to 1970s.
MİT was also hiding messages on white spaces on a photo. The message was becoming visible after a special chemical was applied on the photo.
“Cipher blocs” could also be hidden on vinyl records. One such record was seized by MİT in one counter-intelligence operation.
A safety fuse found in front of the house of a spy, who was working in Turkey for a foreign intelligence service, was actually a secret mail box used by both sides to convey messages.
MİT headquarters was sending documents to its agencies in this steel and locked box. It was used for documents classified as “top secret,” “confidential” and “general” (genel).
A Morse Code transmitter from the history of Turkish intelligence agencies...
A cryptography table used by MİT until the 2000s. Its accompanying “letter blocs book” was constantly reproduced to secure the system’s confidentiality.
A typewriter and printer for punched strips of messages that can be processed by cryptography devices. It was used by MİT from 1975 to 1985.
Swiss-made Hagelin C52 device was also used by MİT for producing encrypted messages. Punched holes on a strip of paper were used for encryption. Multiple encryptions were making it harder for foreign intelligence services to decipher MİT’s messages.
Wright Line 2600 Punch was a similar device, used by MİT until the 2000s.
Philipps’ Aroflex UA-8116 was another device of the same kind, used by MİT from 1985 to 1997 in its communications abroad.
An older, Danish-made encryption device used by MİT starting from 1965.
A steam pulverizer used by MİT to open and close letters without leaving any trace.
“Envelope sewers” were also used for the same function.
A tool used by MİT to quickly copy a key.
A handmade picklock set used by MİT.
This toolbox for copying fingerprints from the scene was used by MİT until the late 1970s.
And this ink set was used to take a person’s fingerprints.
MİT used this device from 1970 to 1990 for enlarging and comparing fingerprints.
A MİT car that was targeted at the organization’s headquarters in Ankara by Cobra helicopters during the coup attempt in July 2016.
A MİT car damaged in a clash between Turkish agents and ISIL militants in Syria.
A 20-mm bullet from a Cobra helicopter that targeted MİT’s headquarters in Ankara during the coup attempt in July 2016.
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