News / Middle East

Report: Turkey Revealed Israeli Spy Ring to Iran

Turkey deliberately blew the cover of an Israeli spy ring working inside Iran in early 2012 and dealt a significant blow to Israeli intelligence gathering, according to a report in The Washington Post on Thursday.

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Turkey, but Israeli ministers have accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of adopting an anti-Israeli stance in recent years to bolster his country's standing in the Muslim world.

Once-strong relations between Turkey and Israel hit the rocks in 2010 after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists who were seeking to break Israel's long-standing naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Israel apparently used to run part of its Iranian spy network out of Turkey, giving Turkish secret services the opportunity to monitor their movements. The paper quoted U.S. officials as saying Israel believed that the Turks would never turn on the Jewish state after years of cooperation.

However, it said that in early 2012 Erdogan disclosed to Tehran the identities of 10 Iranians who had traveled to Turkey to meet Israeli spies.

In April 2012, Iran announced that it had broken up a large Israeli spy network and arrested 15 suspects. It was not clear if this was connected to the alleged Turkish leak.

Iran has long accused Israel of spying inside the Islamic Republic and of killing a string of Iranian nuclear scientists - the last in January 2012. Israel and the West accuse Iran of looking to build an atomic bomb. Tehran denies this.

Failed reconciliation

Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin declined to comment on the Washington Post report, but said relations with Turkey were “very complex.”

“The Turks made a strategic decision... to seek the leadership of our region, in the Middle East, and they chose the convenient anti-Israeli card in order to build up leadership,” he told Israel Radio.

Energy Minister Silvan Shalom also declined to comment, but told Israel Radio that after unrest shook the Arab world in 2011, Erdogan had sought to win “legitimization as the undisputed leader of the new revolution.”

The United States tried to broker a reconciliation between its allies Turkey and Israel in March, persuading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize for the 2010 killings.

However, Israeli officials said subsequent attempts to build bridges by agreeing on a deal to compensate families of those killed in the Israeli naval raid had floundered.

“The only thing that we have achieved since March is to show the Americans that Erdogan is not remotely interested in a reconciliation,” said an Israeli diplomat, who declined to be named given the sensitivity surrounding the issue.

Shortly after the 2010 incident off the shores of Gaza, the then-Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak voiced concern that Turkey could share Israeli intelligence secrets with Iran.

“There are quite a few secrets of ours [entrusted to Turkey] and the thought that they could become open to the Iranians over the next several months... is quite disturbing,” Israel's Army Radio quoted him as saying in August 2010.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Igor from: Russia
October 17, 2013 10:27 PM
Hey Israel, you must watch out for other enemies rather than Iran. Turkey has the greatest ambition in the region and they will let you alone for long.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 17, 2013 9:49 AM
How correct Ehud Barak had been! And how naive of Israel to have trusted Turkey under any circumstance! The rest is story. Those innocent workers so accused must be many feet under the soil by now, as a brutal Iranian regime knows nothing better than blood and more killing, even for the slightest reasons. Another point is the revelation that Erdogan has never been civilized in his approach to diplomacy. All he knows is a barbaric and brutish desire to raise the Ottoman Empire once again to glory.

But we know that with the rise of the Persian Empire (Iran) just rousing from the sanctions - if it finds its way out by doing the right things as required by IAEA - Turkey has no way of taking that position, islamic or not. Another truth revealed is that the cry that Iran is nearing weapons grade enrichment and production of nuclear weapons is true. Hence the reports have been coming from inside the country and not figment of pictures from an overhead satellite. Can the negotiations going on on this matter take a cue and ensure Iran does not already have a nuclear warhead? Israel must learn not to trust any so called neighbors or allies, especially if they are of islamist leaning.
In Response

by: Amin from: Texas
October 18, 2013 3:17 PM
Sara, Iran all the way!
Godwin, you should be with your friends in Boko Haram!
In Response

by: Sara from: ca
October 17, 2013 6:57 PM
Being Iranian I'm happy we got these spies!

Don't mess with Persia again.

Long live Iran.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs