Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government revealed to Iran the identities of up to 10 Iranian spies for Israel, the Washington Post reported Thursday
. Sources described Ankara’s move as an attempt to “slap the Israelis” which caused a “significant” intelligence loss, Post columnist David Ignatius wrote.
Israeli officials are wary of Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, who they believe has “friendly links” to Tehran, he wrote.
Israel may have operated part of its Iranian spy operations through Turkey, an outgrowth of Israeli-Turkish strategic cooperation dating back to the 1950s.
But under Fidan, Turkey’s intelligence service, known as the Milli Istihbarat Teskilati, or MIT, has become much less reliable in Israel’s view.
Fidan, a top Erdogan adviser, holds a University of Maryland bachelor’s degree and earned a doctorate in Turkey.
According to Ignatius, Israeli intelligence officials have sarcastically described Fidan as “the MOIS station chief in Ankara” — alluding to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
The Journal profile noted that Washington, which has enjoyed better relations with the Erdogan government than has Israel, has been worried that Fidan was aiding Syrian jihadists fighting to overthrow the Assad regime.
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