Turkey’s Espionage Chief Wanted to Block the Mossad — Next Thing You Know, There’s a Story Smearing His Violation of Intelligence Etiquette
A Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, has an intriguing report about the increasingly bitter relationship between Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad, and Turkey’s powerful chief of espionage and security, Hakan Fidan.
The newspaper says Fidan took steps to cancel the special arrangement which enabled Mossad case officers — Israelis who frequently visited Turkey — to avoid normal passport checks, immigration procedures, and Customs inspectors. The Mossad men and women could slip invisibly in and out of Turkish territory.
The agreement between the Mossad, and Turkey’s MIT agency was made in the 1990s, before Fidan’s powerful patron, Recep Erdogan, was elected the country’s leader. It even permitted Mossad personnel to cross the border without showing a passport.
Fidan’s decision to scrub the special agreement — of great value for Israeli spies and their shadowy travels in the Middle East — could help explain why the director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, recently visited Fidan in the capital, Ankara.
It could also — as mentioned by the Yeni Safak article — explain why an article that painted Fidan as a coldhearted violator of intelligence etiquette appeared in the The Washington Post. Penned by columnist David Ignatius, who has cultivated sources in the world of espionage, the article said Turkish intelligence had provided Iran with a list of Iranians who had met in Turkey with Israeli spyhandlers.
Fidan, known to be very close to Prime Minister Tayep Erdogan, apparently was moving to fortify Turkey’s adamantly individualistic, stubbornly sovereign, and maddeningly mercurial shift away from predictably pro-American and pro-Israel lines.
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