Turkish Intelligence, CIA and The SAVAK
It is evident that PKK militants transported heavy weaponry to the city, deployed logistical equipment in the area and prepared for a major battle. It is also now known that 200 PKK militants infiltrated Şemdinli. However, intelligence services and units did not become aware of this activity until statements were made by two PKK militants who turned themselves in on July 2. Warnings were issued accordingly and proper measures taken; but it is an unforgivable failing on the part of intelligence agencies that they obtained this information as a result of chance only.
There are various reasons for a weakness in intelligence, including a lack of competent staff and inadequate number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — for which the primary reason is deteriorated relations with Israel. Due to tense relations, Turkey is unable to buy UAVs from the US and to receive Israeli-made drones. Up until last week, this was the most convincing argument as to why the Americans would not sell drones to Turkey.
However, last week a different reason became clear: In a press statement, Deputy Prime Minister Bülenç Arınç announced that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was sharing intelligence with Iran. This provided the answer the Americans have been looking for. American intelligence units have been suspicious that Turkey is sharing information received from American Predator drones with Iran. The US has made it clear that they would be uncomfortable with such an arrangement.
The Israeli lobby has raised a campaign in Washington pushing for recognition that Turkey has been sharing intelligence received through American technology with Iran, and stressing that the US should no longer sell Predator drones to Turkey.
As of last week, Washington is sure that the Turkish intelligence organization has shared information and intelligence with Iran, and that this intelligence was obtained through the American Predators.
At a time when the Americans are very careful not to have any sort of relations with Iran, including sharing intelligence and commercial activities, Turkey’s decision to share intelligence obtained as a result of American technology with Iran may be an unforgivable sin in the intelligence world. For this reason, things are now worse for Turkey.
MİT is well aware of this, and so, following the remarks made by Arınç, it made a statement in an attempt to fix the problem. Much of the media missed the point, but a recent report in the Türkiye daily titled “SAVAK betrayed MİT” is a pretty important one. The report reads: “The bilateral relations between Turkey and Iran, which deteriorated after statements by Iranian authorities against Turkey over its Syrian policy, have affected the intelligence units of both countries. MİT and the Iranian Organization of Intelligence and National Security (SAVAK) have minimized relations.”
This report means: When Arınç exposed the relationship between MİT and SAVAK, the MİT attempted to send a message to its American and Western partners that, “SAVAK betrayed us; so we minimized our relations with them.” In other words, this message could be read as an effort to atone for a mistake.
Let us continue reading the report: “So far, the intelligence agencies of both countries have maintained cooperation in sharing intelligence to address the problem in connection with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and its extension in Iran, PJAK [the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan]. However, subsequent to these developments, MİT and SAVAK have minimized their relationship. Due to a lack of intelligence sharing, the Turkish authorities were unable to receive proper information from the Iranian intelligence units that terrorists infiltrated through the Iranian border before the Şemdinli attack. Terror experts said: ‘It is impossible to believe that SAVAK did not notice such a large group of PKK militants infiltrating through the Turkish border. Something is behind this.’”
In fact, SAVAK stopped supplying intelligence on PKK activities to Turkey last winter. There are even motions and applications by Turkish authorities to Iran indicating that PKK militants are using Iranian military outposts along the border. In other words, SAVAK has not been providing intelligence to Turkey for the last year, and, in addition, Iran allows the PKK to use its outposts. It would be interesting if good relations were maintained between the Turkish and Iranian intelligence agencies despite this. But I believe that this report is an attempt to offer an apology to Turkey’s Western partners and to minimize the impact of Arınç’s statement.
This means that Turkey is now unable to buy Predators from the US. Moreover, Iran arrested Murat Karayılan based on intelligence received from the MİT; and made a pact with Karayılan for resolution of the PJAK issue, betraying Turkey, for which our intelligence agency abused the trust of the Americans and jeopardized the purchase of drones.
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