President Tayyip Erdogan (r,) with MIT intelligence director Hakan Fidan
The widely-reported claim originating in the Turkish media of Monday, March 21, that the suicide bomber who murdered four people and injured 39 in Istanbul Saturday had deliberately targeted Israeli tourists, is challenged by debkafile’s intelligence sources. Those reports are classified as "Turkish disinformation" meant to demonstrate that their MIT intelligence service was on top of the wave of terror sweeping their country.
The reports cited CCTV footage as showing the bomber trailing the Israeli tourists from their hotel to the restaurant for breakfast, and waiting for them to come out before detonating his bomb. Our sources ask:
If the MIT’s information on terrorist operations is so precise, why doesn't it stop them?
The bomb blast in the popular Istiklal Caddesi street in the European side of Istanbul killed three Israelis, Jonathan Shor, 40, Simha Damari, 60, and Avraham Goldman, 69
They were laid to rest in Israel Monday.
Five Israelis, who were among the people wounded in the attack, were flown home. Five others were too seriously hurt to evacuate from Turkish hospitals.
Turkey’s interior minister on Sunday identified the bomber as Mehmet Ozturk, from the southern border city of Gaziantep, with past ISIS links. However, no organization has so far claimed the Istanbul attack.
Monday, Turkish media also published images of three ISIS suspects, who were reported on a tip-off to be plotting attacks in busy areas of Istanbul and possibly other Turkish cities. They were named along with their aliases as Hacı Ali Dumaz, codenamed Mervan; Savaş Yıldız, codenamed Ebu Cihat; and Yunus Durmaz, who uses the codenames Abdüllatif Efe, Sarı Yunus and Muhammed Ali.
Yildiz was already being sought over bomb attacks in Adana and Mersin in May 2015.
Our intelligence sources are just as skeptical about that report as the first, suggesting that it too was released in a face-saving effort by the Turkish authorities to parade their inside knowledge of the workings of the Islamist terror networks at large in their country.
In fact, say debkafile’s counterterrorism sources, Turkish President Tayyip Edrogan and his MIT director Hakan Fidan are now paying the price for their long dance macabre with the terrorists. ISIS networks were long permitted to use Turkey as an open highway for the transfer of fighters and money to Syria, while the Islamic State siphoned through Turkey, often with the help of Turkish Kurdish middlemen, shipments of oil that were pumped illicitly from Syrian oilfields.
The Turkish authorities recently changed their policy and tried to clamp down on these ISIS transit operations, but by the time they acted, the MIT had lost control of the situation. The Syrian-Turkish gate could not be slammed shut against the networks, which had set up open shop on both sides of the border. Turkey is now facing a deadly backlash.
This is what Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon meant when he commented Monday that “Turkey is awash with terror.”