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[OPINION] Erdoğan’s intelligence agency involved in surge of terror

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) meets with Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan (R) at Presidential Complex, in Ankara, Turkey on October 27, 2016. Turkish Presidency / Murat Cetinmuhurdar / Anadolu Agency

By Abdullah Bozkurt

If the Turkish president had not thwarted the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, his close confidant, from responding to a summons to testify before prosecutors in February 2012 over the agency’s clandestine connections to terror groups, Turkey would have seen how deep the rabbit hole goes in linking false flags that were blamed on terror but were in fact perpetrated by the black ops secreted away in the notorious agency.

Abdullah Bozkurt

Frustrated by the footprints of the agency in dozens of terror attacks during which the arrested suspects turned out to be either intelligence officers or informants, Turkish prosecutors summoned Fidan to hold him to account for what was going on under his watch. For example, it was intel operatives who set a public bus ablaze in Istanbul by throwing Molotov cocktails in an attack in November 2009 that was blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A 17-year-old teenager named Serap Eser was badly burned in the attack and lost her life a month later in the hospital. Former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin later revealed that “the people who sabotaged the bus, throwing Molotov cocktails, were members of MİT.”

Similarly, an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by the PKK on a road between Turkey’s southeastern city of Bitlis and the town of Güroymak that killed five police officers and six civilians on Oct. 18, 2011 was procured by MİT. The serial number found on the bomb during the forensic examination matched one recorded by police bomb specialists before handing it over to MİT in pieces. The bomb made its way to the PKK via an intelligence asset planted in the PKK by MİT, which knew the bomb could be easily reassembled. Prosecutors launched a probe into intel officers who handled the bomb, but then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not give permission to proceed with the investigation.

MİT also paved the way to the twin bombings in the Turkish border town of Reyhanlı, which claimed the lives of 53 people on May 11, 2013 and was blamed on elements of the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad. A later investigation has determined that a key operative named Haisam Toubaljeh, also known as Heysem Topalca, who is on the MİT payroll, played a central role in the planning of the bomb attacks. The confidential MİT files that prosecutors had managed to get their hands on clearly showed the intelligence agency kept tabs on all the suspects, knew about their plots, wiretapped their communications and even recorded the license plates of the vehicles used in the deadly bombings.

MİT only informed the police about the impending attack a day before it took place by sending a low-level courier to deliver a letter of warning to a police officer on the night shift on May 10. Instead of placing an emergency call to higher-ups in the security apparatus responsible for the safety of Hatay province, the intelligence agency simply decided to send a letter to a low-ranking police officer on duty. It was the vigilance of that police officer who opened the envelope and alerted his superiors, scrambling together a hunt for the vehicles at the 11th hour. This was also a false flag that came only five days before Erdoğan’s scheduled visit to Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama in the White House. The goal was to prod the US into a military engagement in Syria to oust President al-Assad from power.

Likewise, many of the terror attacks in Turkey that were blamed on al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were actually the work of the Turkish intel agency. MİT funded and armed all sorts of radical groups in Syria and Iraq and orchestrated attacks inside and outside of Turkey. The January 2014 exposure of Syria-bound illegal arms shipments in steel containers that also included cash and drugs and which were escorted by MİT agents showed how MİT was running logistical lines for radical groups in a neighboring country.

Erdoğan personally intervened with the governor while his justice minister was called in to persuade prosecutors to drop the investigation. In a rush, Erdoğan also pushed an amendment to a bill empowering the intelligence agency to make arms shipments and providing blanket immunity from criminal prosecution. The intercepted trucks were part of some 2,000 arms-laden vehicles that had been dispatched to Syria since 2011 by the intelligence agency according to court records. The investigations were thwarted by Erdoğan, who then turned the case around and accused prosecutors, police chiefs and military officers of espionage for exposing the illegal arms shipments.

A leaked audio recording of a high-level security meeting at the Turkish Foreign Ministry about possible military action in Syria via a false flag operation in March 2014, acknowledged by Erdoğan as authentic, revealed how far Turkish intelligence was willing to risk dragging NATO into an unwanted war in Syria. In the recording, senior officials including then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and MİT head Fidan discussed how Turkey could start a war with Syria, what the legal grounds would be to do so and if it would be possible to create a pretext to deliberately drag Turkey and by extension NATO into a war with Syria. They also discussed a false flag operation by having mortars fired into Turkey from Syria to ostensibly create the legal grounds for a war. There was no investigation launched into the allegations, but rather a probe was conducted into who leaked the recording.

I’ve read hundreds of confidential wiretaps kept on ISIL suspects in Turkey by MİT and police intelligence services. It would be highly unlikely for any plot to escape the scrutiny of Turkish intelligence. For example, the intel agency knew all the key culprits who were involved in planning a bombing in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, the deadliest terror attack ever to take place in Turkey, which killed 104 people including the two suicide bombers. The government was monitoring all communications between İlhami Balı (AKA Ebu Bekir), ISIL’s emir of the border who smuggles people, arms and logistical supplies, and his people back in Turkey such as Yunus Durmaz, the senior ISIL operative in the country and one of the planners of the Ankara attack. There had been many wiretap authorizations by courts for Balı and Durmaz in 2014 and 2015. Authorities had known their every step in advance, yet did not do anything to prevent the carnage they perpetrated.

The indictment filed with an Ankara criminal court lists the evidence obtained from the safe house of Durmaz, who was killed on May 20 during a police operation. In his communications with Ebu Bekir, Durmaz suggested five plans for attacks in Turkey including an Ankara peace rally that was to be attended by pro-Kurdish and leftist groups. The documents detail how ISIL picks targets for an attack, what goals it hopes to achieve, lists available intelligence and suggests a different modus operandi for each attack. For example, targeting a Kurdish wedding was one of the plans suggested by Durmaz in his letter. This one actually took place on Aug. 20, 2016 when an ISIL suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding in Gaziantep, killing 59 people.

Durmaz also proposed attacking NATO troops in Turkey that were working on withdrawing Patriot missile batteries. He said the routes used by the NATO allies were known and that the best way was to plant an IED on the road. He also urged approval of attack plans against Christian and Jewish targets as well as venues frequented by foreigners and tourists. Therefore, the attack that killed one Iranian and three Israeli tourists in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district on March 19, 2016 as well as a night club attack on Jan. 1, 2017 that killed 39 including 26 foreigners were not unexpected at all. The burning question is how Turkish security services failed to prevent these attacks when they knew all the planning in advance, including the key operatives who plotted them. The fact that no heads rolled over these failures, either in political office or in the bureaucracy, gives further credence to the allegations of foul play.

The fact that Erdoğan has been jailing prosecutors and police investigators who tracked a false flag terror attack to Turkish intelligence indicates he is desperately trying to hush up those who know a lot about his dirty bidding. Some whistleblowers who remain at large or have fled to safety in foreign countries must be encouraged to come forward with further evidence to expose Erdoğan’s regime games with terror groups. MİT has either plotted them itself or pushed assets he planted or recruited in terror groups to stage deliberate attacks to gain political advantage for Erdoğan.

Ruling party officials unashamedly admit that every time a bomb goes off in Turkey, the popularity of the Turkish president rises. Since popular support for the imperial presidency Erdoğan aspires to obtain hovers at around 50 percent, he may need more violent incidents to justify systemic changes in Turkey and raise the support to 60 percent. The Islamist thugs in Turkey will further fuel a false sense of patriotism and religious zealotry to mobilize the masses in the lead-up to the referendum on dictatorship. They will ratchet up the propaganda campaign to make the public believe that evil powers are trying to occupy and dismember Turkey, using terror groups as pawns in the game. Reviving the terror scare is the best way for Erdoğan to insure what he wants as he did right after his ruling party lost its majority in the national elections of June 7, 2015. He orchestrated a false flag terror act by the PKK to order to hold elections again, and in the end his party regained the majority in Parliament in the Nov. 1 elections.

If one is to take seriously Erdoğan’s repeated public warnings about impending terror attacks in Western capitals by terror groups, then his notorious intelligence agency MİT must have already plotted a course to insure terrible deeds to follow Erdoğan’s rhetoric. The counter-intelligence network of Turkey’s allies and partners are already aware of such a possibility and on high alert to neutralize threats when they are raised.

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