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Turkiye cancelled human intelligence deal with Israel in 2010, new book reveals

August 1, 2023 at 9:10 pm

A Turkish flag in Ankara, Turkiye [Metin Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye cancelled human intelligence deals with Israel 13 years ago following the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, a new book has revealed.

in a year-long study as part of research for his new book named ‘The National Intelligence Agency 1826-2023’, Turkish historian, Polat Safi, was given access to Turkish official security archives, in which he discovered that Turkiye’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Israel’s Mossad had signed a crucial human intelligence cooperation agreement on 2 May 1997.

That agreement essentially allowed both agencies to deploy and handle their informants and personnel within each other’s countries, on the condition that the other side was informed in advance.

It reportedly came amid an intense drive by the Turkish government to build on and advance relations during the 1990s and early 2000s, in an effort to develop regional partners in Ankara’s fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq at the time.

As part of that enhancing of relations, the two countries had also signed F-4 fighter jets modernisation deals and military cooperation agreements, but the human intelligence agreement had reportedly not been revealed until now.

The book highlights the deal as ground-breaking due to the fact that it allowed Mossad to essentially conduct intelligence operations within Turkiye, unhindered, but it apparently grew to be more of a one-sided deal in favour of Tel Aviv as Israeli intelligence misused and violated the agreement on countless occasions.

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According to Safi, in his book, “MIT hardly benefited from the HUMINT protocol” while Israel’s Mossad “directed and managed personnel in Turkey since the 2000s and had mostly avoided informing MIT while carrying out these activities, contrary to the terms of the protocol.” He added that “according to MIT, Mossad was abusing bilateral relations and conducting third country operations from Turkey.”

A major spanner in their agreement – and one which proved to ultimately break it – was reportedly the Gaza flotilla raid in 2010, in which Israeli soldiers killed nine Turkish citizens and wounded 50 others on their attack on that aid ship making its way to besieged Palestinians.

“By 2010, when there were signs that Mossad not only violated the protocol provisions, but also abused the protocol, MIT intervened and accordingly Mossad would close its liaison office in Ankara towards the end of the year”, Safi wrote. “The closure of the Mossad liaison office meant that the close relationship of nearly half a century between the Turkish and Israeli intelligence, which was generally uneventful despite its ups and downs and had its golden age between 1990-2000, came to an end.”

Prior to that, relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv had already steadily been deteriorating due to a series of events such as the Turkish decision to deepen energy cooperation with Iran in 2008, as well as Turkiye’s attempts to broker an atomic deal between Iran and the Western nations.

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