Tags: Middle East | NSA/Surveillance | Turkey | U.S. | intelligence | gathering

Turkey Is 'Partner and Target' of US Intelligence

By    |   Monday, 01 Sep 2014 08:49 AM

Successive U.S. administrations have aided Turkey in beating Kurdish rebels with actionable real-time intelligence even as the Islamist government in Ankara has itself become a major target of National Security Agency surveillance, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

American intelligence has been directed to monitor Turkish leaders and discern the country's foreign policy intentions with the same level of scrutiny as, for example, anti-American Venezuela, according to Der Spiegel.

The United States has infiltrated the computers of Turkey's leaders, monitored its diplomats assigned to the Washington embassy and New York U.N. Consulate, and tracked the moves of the country's military. An NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden characterizes the country as both a "partner and target. " U.S. intelligence operates listening posts in Istanbul and the capital Ankara, Der Spiegel reported.

The Islamist-oriented Justice and Development Party led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan first came to power in 2002. Earlier this month, Erdogan became the country's first directly elected president further solidifying his power.

British intelligence, GCHQ, has separately carried out surveillance on the Turkish finance and energy ministers among other government officials, Der Spiegel reported.

Some experts believe that Turkey helped bolster the Islamic State as a tool against Bashar Assad of Syria before turning against it, according to VOA. Turkey is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and Qatar against comparatively moderate Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, CNN reported. Erdogan is also outspokenly anti-Israel, proclaiming that the Jewish state "will drown" in the Palestinian blood it "sheds."

At the same time, the United States created a special liaison unit to share intelligence with Ankara against the Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK. This collaboration has resulted in Turkish airstrikes against presumed PKK targets, provided the locations of individual PKK leaders so that Turkey could assassinate them, tracked PKK money flow, and shared state-of-the-art voice recognition software to aid telephone intercepts. In one operation, the U.S. updated the Turks every six hours regarding the whereabouts of a PKK target, Der Spiegel reported.

This intelligence sharing has continued under the Obama administration.

Since the 1950s, Turkey's strategic location straddling Europe and the Mideast has made it an ideal listening post for intelligence gathering against Russia and now also against Syria, Der Spiegel reported. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to visit Turkey later this week after a NATO Summit in Britain, the Defense Department announced.

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Successive U.S. administrations have aided Turkey in beating Kurdish rebels with actionable real-time intelligence even as the Islamist government in Ankara has itself become a major target of National Security Agency surveillance, Der Spiegel magazine reported.
Turkey, U.S., intelligence, gathering
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2014-49-01
Monday, 01 Sep 2014 08:49 AM
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