After angry denials last week from Ankara that Turkey exposed Israeli intelligence operatives to authorities in Iran, its foreign minister seemed to imply that the allegation was true after all, The Jerusalem Post said on Sunday.
A report in the U.S. media said that Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan was responsible for the intelligence breach.
“When you read these articles, Hakan Fidan is accused of establishing an independent intelligence structure and not letting other intelligence agencies operate in Turkey. Therefore, he is being blamed for doing his job,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview on Friday in the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Fidan was behind the arming of Islamists in the Syrian insurgency, notably Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups. Senior U.S. officials said Fidan gave Iran sensitive data three years ago collected by the U.S. and Israel.
Davutoglu said the accusations regarding Fidan were contradictory in that he was accused of supporting both Iran and its enemies in Syria.
“Turkey is not a country where other intelligence units can comfortably perform operations. This is a requirement of independence,” he said. “I am not saying that the claims are true, but after all, every intelligence agency works for the interest of its own country.”
In addition, it was suggested that Israel was to blame for the unfavorable publicity.
“We see this media campaign as an attack and there might be an Israeli effort behind it,” a Turkish intelligence source said.