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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Can NATO Member Turkey Ever Be Trusted Again?

In April, 2012, the Tehran Times announced: "Iran has foiled Israeli terrorist plots." That one had Turkish fingerprints all over it.

Turkey's chief intelligence officer Hakan Fidan betrayal of Israel and the West may mean a severe shift in Turkey's political direction, which makes its Western allies anxious.

Turkey's chief intelligence officer Hakan Fidan betrayal of Israel and the West may mean a severe shift in Turkey's political direction, which makes its Western allies anxious.

The Jewish Press has had the dubious honor of pointing the finger at Turkey’s chief intelligence officer Hakan Fidan and state flatly that his betrayal of 10 Mossad agents was the stuff that should get him something nice in his car in the morning. Yes, we don’t go for nice over here, but, as you’ll see, the rest of the world is coming around rather quickly to our position, and so, if I’m Hakan Fidan, I’d get me a bus pass.

An Eli Lake article in the Daily Beast has confirmations from U.S. officials of the David Ignatius initial Washington Post report. A CIA officer compared the loss to the betrayal of the Cambridge Five the network of Soviet moles (including the notorious Kim Philby), who provided invaluable intelligence to Moscow during the Cold War.

Danny Yatom, a former chief of Israel’s Mossad, told the Beast: “The fact those ten spies were burned by the Turks by purposely informing the Iranians is not only a despicable act, it is an act that brings the Turkish intelligence organization to a position where I assume no one will ever trust it again.”

Yatom said the Mossad has traditionally informed its Turkish counterparts about meetings with its spies on Turkish soil. He said if Turkey gave Iran any details about these meetings, it would compromise Israel’s intelligence operations against Iran.

Indeed, in April, 2012, the Tehran Times announced: “Iran has foiled Israeli terrorist plots.”

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that it recently foiled several Israeli terrorist plots.

The statement was issued to provide more details about recent operations by Iranian intelligence forces that led to the arrest of 15 Mossad-linked spies and terrorists.

On April 10 [2012], the Intelligence Ministry announced that key members of an Israeli terrorist network had been identified and arrested in Iran.

Presumably, the blood of those 15 agents is on Hakan Fidan’s hands.

Omri Ceren, of The Israel Project, wrote today: “Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that if the story is true, then Turkey’s intel chief Hakan Fidan was just ‘doing his job’ by ‘not letting other intelligence agencies operate in Turkey.’ That might be surprising to Turkey’s NATO allies, not to mention any country that does counterterror work with Ankara.”

And that is a problem well beyond the anger and betrayal anyone in the Mossad might be feeling today. Turkey has the largest army of all the European NATO members and it plays a central role in the alliance. Which means that if you’re a senior security official in any of NATO’s member countries, you’ll start reviewing your exchanges with the Turks. Remember, Turkey serves as a passageway not only for spies going into Iran, but also for terrorists coming out of Iran. If you can’t now trust the Turks to monitor that traffic reliably; if, in fact, you have to worry about them actually aiding and abetting those terrorists – what do you do?

This is far from being an Israel-only problem. I mentioned in an earlier article the similarity between Hakan Fidan’s despicable act and those Afghan soldiers who shoot their American fellows on patrol. If Turkey does not find a meaningful way of convincing its NATO allies that it is trustworthy—it could bring on a sea change in Turkey’s already eroding relationship with the West.

Is Erdoğan’s Turkey turning its back on its European aspirations, in search of a safe and familiar role as the Muslim world’s eternal second fiddle?

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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