Turkish PM affirms endorsement of Intel chief

Turkish PM affirms endorsement of Intel chief

Turkish PM affirms endorsement of Intel chief

Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan is being subject to a smear campaign both inside and outside the country, PM Erdoğan says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The Turkish prime minister reasserted his support of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief, Hakan Fidan, who has recently come under fire over allegations that he cooperated with the Iranian government to the detriment of regional Israeli intelligence interests.

“The important thing is we would [never] let our bureaucrats or our political combat fellows be eaten [by others] unless something happens,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport this morning, ahead of his departure to Kosovo.

Erdoğan asserted the government would not act against the people, or “fellows”, as he called it, which includes the MİT chief as well as others from the Turkish armed forces, without seeing any substantial evidence proving allegations placed on them.

An Oct. 17 report by the Washington Post took command of the Turkish news agenda after it claimed Turkey’s deliberate uncovering of an Israeli spy-ring’s internal operations in Iran around early 2012.
Dealing a significant blow to Israeli intelligence gathering at the time, the prime minister stated that his government would accept Israel’s statement it issued regarding the matter.

In remarks made to Turkish reporters surrounding the issue on Oct. 22, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor, stressed the objective of such reports could complicate the Turkish-Israeli relationship, without neither denying nor confirming the report.

He also said the information claime din the report was not leaked from Israel.

The Washington Post allegations angered officials in Ankara, already on the defensive after a Wall Street Journal story printed on Oct. 9 suggested Fidan was acting “independently” on Syria operations, jeopardizing local Western interests.

In a previous speech delivered to a meeting of his parliamentary party on Oct. 22, Erdoğan maintained the accusatory claims about Fidan were yet another attempt by “those who wish to cloud our institutions with suspicion.”

“Sorry, but we will stand behind our valued bureaucrats and technocrats and won’t favor others over them. If there is a complaint, we will assess it, and then act accordingly, as required,” the prime minister said.