Report That Turkey Exposed Spies Strains Its Relations With Israel

NY Times: JERUSALEM — Persistently strained relations between Israel and Turkey have not been helped by a report that last year Turkey revealed to Iran the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had spied for Israel.

The Israeli government refused to comment on Thursday on the report, but Danny Yatom, a former chief of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, told Israel Radio, “Assuming that this is true, this was an extraordinarily malicious thing to do.”

A column published Wednesday on The Washington Post’s Web site reported that in early 2012, the Turkish government made the disclosures about Iranians who had been meeting Israeli intelligence officers on Turkish soil. The column, by David Ignatius, said that “knowledgeable sources” called the episode a “significant” loss of intelligence and “an effort to slap the Israelis,” and that the betrayal had marred a 50-year intelligence alliance between Turkey and Israel.

The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in televised remarks on Thursday that the allegations in the column were “without any foundation.”

Turkey, which shares borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria, among other countries, once served as “a convenient place for Israel to work to reach people from hostile countries,” Mr. Yatom said. But while there had been “outstanding” cooperation in earlier years between Israel and Turkey, Israel now is “not open with the Turks, as we were in the past,” he said.

Mr. Yatom added, “We are suspicious of the Turks, that they relay information to Iran that could endanger us.”

Turkey once ranked as Israel’s closest ally in the Muslim world, and it took part in joint exercises in the Mediterranean with the Israeli and American Navies, and allowed Israeli jet pilots to train in Turkey’s relatively vast airspace.

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Categories: Europe and Australia

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