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Who's Out to Get Turkey’s Spymaster?

The pressure on Turkish Intelligence head Hakan Fidan may be a sign of concern over a shift in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies toward Syria and Iran.
Hakan Fidan 222.JPG
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When stories about a country’s spymaster appear in the international media, they are automatically assumed to be based on information leaked with a purpose. The nature of the game, however, is that a government suspected of doing the leaking will deny any such allegation. This is the backdrop against which two recent and controversial articles about Hakan Fidan, head of Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT), Turkey’s intelligence agency, must be read.

The first story appeared Oct. 10 in The Wall Street Journal under the title “Turkey's Spymaster Plots Own Course on Syria.” Citing “senior US officials,” the article claims that three years ago, Fidan had raised concerns in Washington “when he rattled Turkey's allies by allegedly passing to Iran sensitive intelligence collected by the US and Israel.” It goes on to assert, “More recently, Turkey's Syria approach, carried out by Mr. Fidan, has put it at odds with the US.” The story also quotes Jim Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Turkey, as saying that although Washington needs to work with Fidan, “because he can get the job done,” it should not assume “he is a knee-jerk friend of the United States, because he is not."

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