[QODLink]
Europe

Turkey denies exposing Israeli spies to Iran

Washington Post report accuses Ankara of blowing the cover of 10 Iranians who met in Turkey with Mossad handlers.

Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 17:15
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Davutoglu said the Washington Post allegations were "without any foundation" [Reuters]

Turkey denied on Thursday a US newspaper report claiming it had revealed an Israeli spy ring working with Iranians on its soil to the authorities in Tehran, a sign of the souring ties between the once-close allies.

Turkey is a regional power and there are power centres which are uncomfortable with this... stories like these are part of a campaign.

Turkish official,

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government had last year revealed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting in Turkey with Mossad handlers.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the allegations were "without any foundation".

"[Turkish intelligence chief Hakan] Fidan and other security agents report only to the Turkish government and the parliament," he said.

The allegation angered officials in Ankara, already on the defensive after a Wall Street Journal article last week suggested Washington was concerned that Fidan had shared sensitive information with Iran.

Other officials in Ankara, speaking on condition they not be named, described the article as part of an attempt to discredit Turkey by foreign powers uncomfortable with its growing influence in the Middle East.

"Turkey is a regional power and there are power centres which are uncomfortable with this... stories like these are part of a campaign," a Turkish official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.

'Very complex'

There was no immediate comment from Israel, but Israeli ministers have accused Erdogan of adopting an anti-Israeli stance in recent years. Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin declined to comment on the report, but said relations with Turkey were "very complex."

"The Turks made a strategic decision ... to seek the leadership of our region, in the Middle East, and they chose the convenient anti-Israeli card in order to build up leadership," he told Israel Radio.

The relationship hit the rocks in 2010 after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists seeking to break Israel's long-standing naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Relations between the two US allies have been fraught ever since, with military cooperation frozen and mutual distrust scuppering attempts to restore ties, despite efforts by US President Barack Obama to broker a reconciliation.

Iran has long accused Israel of spying on it soil and of killing several Iranian nuclear scientists, the last in January 2012.

In April 2012, Iran announced that it had broken up a large Israeli spy network and arrested 15 suspects. It was not clear if this was connected to the alleged Turkish leak.

437

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Analysts say China moving back toward 1950s-era public trials aimed at shaming and intimidation.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
join our mailing list