Going Cold Turkey

As reported earlier this week, Turkey’s hostility to Israel is currently so poisonous that they committed the ultimate sin in espionage circles by “burning” an allied country’s (Israel’s) spy ring – i.e. blowing their cover – of an allied state and selling them out to the common enemy, Iran. This is something so unethical and so shocking that it is considered extremely bad form even amongst enemies.

Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan

Turkey is now taking things one step further and is reportedly reconsidering allowing any cooperation with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad at all:

Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan is poised to convince Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to revoke a series of agreements with Israel that allow the Mossad to operate freely on Turkish soil, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, which is affiliated with Ankara’s governing AKP party, reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the looming cancellation is the reason for the recent series of anti-Turkey reports in the American media, the most recent one by The Washington Post, suggesting that Turkey had exposed an Israeli spy ring in Iran.

Turkish media claims that the reports are meant to discredit Fidan.

I don’t think Fidan needs help in being discredited. He’s doing a fine job of discrediting himself all on his own after his master-coup in betraying the Israeli spies.

Senior Turkish columnist Abdulkadir Selvi said in the report that the agreements between Israel and Turkey were “signed at a time when Turkey’s democratically elected government did not have full control over the country’s territory.” He added that Fidan was seeking to revoke the agreements over the changes in circumstances.

The Times of Israel elucidates on those cryptic words:

Turkey made the secret deals with the Mossad in a period when the Turkish elected government did not have full control over its territory, Selvi wrote, in an apparent reference to the period when the Turkish army exerted more influence in the country.

Recent years have seen an aggressive campaign by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to curb the power of the military — whose top brass enjoyed good ties with their Israeli counterparts — in the country.

Predator UAV

In the wake of Turkey’s perfidy, it is gratifying to note that the United States is reported to be cancelling the delivery of 10 drones to Turkey:

The United States Congress canceled the delivery to Turkey of 10 Predators – unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – following Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan’s disclosure of the identity of 10 Iranians who had been allegedly working for Mossad with the Iranian intelligence service, the Turkish newspaper Taraf daily reported.

According to the report, the claims about Fidan can be traced back to the year after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 when the Turkish intelligence service suspended relations with the Mossad and shared information about the Israeli agency with Iran.

Turkey has been expecting the UAVs in June, 2012, but Congress decided not to confirm the Turkish request, due to its intelligence service’s tight relations with Iran’s.

The Turkish news website Zaman reported that according to Turkish government sources, the timing of the release of news against Fidan in the US press is related to the fact that NATO member Turkey has chosen a Chinese defense firm sanctioned by Washington to co-produce a $4 billion long-range air and missile defense system, rejecting rival bids from Russian, US and European firms.

The second fact concerning the timing of the news reports about Fidan is the suspension of a military intervention in Syria and agreement between US President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the destruction of chemical weapons. In the event of a possible intervention, the CIA, Mossad and Turkish intelligence services were planning to work together and Turkey was expected to play an important role in directing the Syrian opposition. The suspension of the intervention decreased the need for intelligence sharing between the agencies.

It is surprising that the Americans feel so strongly about Turkey and are being so muscular in their response. After their tepid reaction to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and their eagerness to embrace Rouhani’s charm offensive at the UN, who could blame the Turks if they miscalculated?  Of course, it was probably no miscalculation, most likely a deliberate anti-Israel and anti-Western maneuver on the part of the Turks.

Nevertheless America’s overt rejection of Turkey’s perfidy towards Israel is to be warmly welcomed.

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6 Responses to Going Cold Turkey

  1. peteca1 says:

    anne – a few things about this topic. and this is all complete speculation on my part.

    first, please see this news article which seems to confirm that the assassins working inside Iran (against nuclear scientists) were ferried through Turkey for training:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/05/iran-scientist-assasinations-state-tv-confessions_n_1744862.html

    now I have not checked all the dates completely. but if I am close to the truth, then since Turkey “outted” this program to Iran, the killing of Iranian scientists has mostly stopped. This would imply that Israel lost one of its most effective covert ways to strike at Iran’s nuclear program. Of course, it can be argued that killing nuke scientists is highly immoral. But practically if the alternative to the covert program is a full-scale war, then surely the covert approach is the better option – to say the least. Hence the impact of the actions by Turkey are quite profound. Or so it would seem to the casual observer.

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      Interesting point Pete. However there have been at least 2 recent killings of Iranian nuke experts though of course Israel never admits whether they are involved or not.

      It’s true that “losing” Turkey means life is more difficult for Israel to penetrate Iran, but there are plenty of other options. For all we know, Israel could be making use of its new-found alliance with Gulf states. Kurdistan too is a useful ally. Access to Iran does not start or end with Turkey.

      I think the reason there has been a slow down in the assassination of Iranian experts might be due more to Iranian caution following previous killings. Perhaps they’ve increased their security etc. They’d be idiots not to have done so.

      I think the big loser in this whole episode is actually Turkey. They’ve cut ties with Israel and burned their bridges with the West, and yet they are still not accepted as leaders in the Muslim world. They are left with nothing. And until they change their leadership I don’t see this changing any time soon. This is very sad for the Turkish citizens because they are mostly not hostile to Israel or the West but they are the ones who’ll end up paying for their leaders’ mistakes.

  2. Reality says:

    Don’t hold your breath about American not delivering the drones. They always backtrack. As for not sharing intel with Turks, I know we need all information but possibly we can manage very nicely without their help & these things go bothways. I hope Israel has the sense (again don’t hold your breath) to withhold intel about impending doom in Turkey.

    • anneinpt says:

      I’m not so sure about America back-pedalling on this one, though of course they are not very reliable nowadays.

      I don’t think we share intel with Turkey any more, perhaps not since the Mavi Marmara episode, but certainly since they “burned” the spy ring.

      Turkey is really the big loser in all this. They’ve shot themselves in the foot.

  3. DavidinPT says:

    Hasn’t the time come for Israel to host an international conference on the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians?

    • cba says:

      Sounds like a very important issue to me.

      Plus I think there should be a BDS campaign against all things Turkish until they stop their illegal occupation of Cyprus.

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