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24/05/2023 | Turkey claims it uncovered Israeli spy cell that targeted Iran

Joseph Fitsanakis

ON MONDYA, TURKEY’S NATIONAL intelligence organization (MİT) announced the arrest of several members of an alleged spy network, who were reportedly recruited, trained and handled by Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad.

 

Two members of the alleged spy ring were arrested two months ago, according to the Office of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The arrests reportedly came as a result of an investigation into a threatening package sent that was sent in the mail by one of the spy suspects. The investigation was initiated by the Istanbul branch of the General Directorate of Security (Turkish police), which later revealed a connection with a separate 18-month long counterintelligence investigation by the MİT. It eventually led to the arrest of  Selçuk Küçükkaya, a Turkish national, who is accused of operating as the head of the alleged spy ring.

On Monday, Istanbul police arrested 11 associates of Küçükkaya, who the MİT believes to be members of the alleged spy cell. Some reports indicate that Turkish authorities are still searching for two additional suspects who are believed to be part of the alleged spy ring. The MİT states that the spy ring had established a front company through which its members conducted business activities in Iran, with the assistance of intermediaries operating abroad.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office alleges that Küçükkaya made contact with Israeli intelligence through a member of the so-called Gülen movement. The Gülen movement consists of supporters of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who runs a global network of schools, charities and businesses from his home-in-exile in the United States. The Turkish government has designated Gülen’s group a terrorist organization and claims it was behind the failed 2016 coup against Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Küçükkaya is further-accused of having had several in-person meetings with Mossad officers in various locations around Europe. During those meetings, Küçükkaya allegedly received assignments designed to test his intelligence-gathering abilities. It is alleged that Küçükkaya was eventually hired as a spy by the Mossad, who also provided him with instructions on how to use a clandestine communication system to contact his Israeli handlers.

The claim by the Turkish government that it has busted a Mossad spy cell operating in its territory is not unprecedented. In October 2021, the MİT disclosed the arrests of 15 members of an alleged Mossad spy ring following a series of raids across four Turkish provinces. Last December, Turkish media reported that 44 individuals had been detained and interrogated for allegedly spying on Palestinian exiles living in Turkey on behalf of the Mossad. What is new about this latest claim is the alleged connection between the Mossad and the Gülen movement, which the administration of Turkish President Erdoğan views as an existential domestic security threat.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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