Ankara distanced itself further from the West last week by signing a pact with Iran for the exchange of intelligence in real time in their offensives against Kurdish separatists. Tehran will maintain a permanent intelligence officers' mission at the Turkish general command's operations department, while admitting Turkish officers to its own high command operations center. debkafile's intelligence sources report that while the exchanges are formally limited to the war on Kurdish insurgents, they are certain to spread to other spheres.
Israel is deeply concerned over this and other developments in the wake of the defection of Turkey, its erstwhile strategic partner and long trusted repository of shared military secrets.
Sunday, Aug. 1, defense minister Ehud Barak told the army radio: "… the nomination in recent weeks of a new chief of the Turkish secret services who is a supporter of Iran worries us." It could result, he said "in the Iranians having access to secret information."
Two months ago, debkafile reported that Turkish prime minister had appointed an avid admirer of Iran Hakan Fidan as new chief of MIT central intelligence agency.
Fidan made friends with Iranian officials during his stint as Turkish delegate to the International Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna and took their side consistently in controversies over Tehran's nuclear program.
It was he who came up with the plan earlier this year for a Turkish-Brazilian initiative to bypass big power diplomacy over Iran and scuttle their plans to place Iran under tough sanctions.
The intelligence exchange pact Ankara signed with Tehran last week added a fresh element to Israel's worries over Turkey's next steps.