Turkish and Iranian Foreign Ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Javad Zarif secretly signed in Ankara a pact covering intelligence cooperation between their two countries, Friday, Nov. 1, debkafile’s excusive sources report.
Although a member of NATO, Turkey undertook under this accord to stop cooperating with any third countries in spying on Iran and to roll up anti-Iranian spy rings operating from its soil. Most significantly, the Erdogan government agreed to end the activities of agents collecting information on Iran from the Turkish side of the Iranian border.
The details of the new pact were worked out in six weeks of discussions between Hakan Fidan, head of the Turkish MIT intelligence service and Khosrow Hosseinian, Iran’s deputy intelligence minister in charge of special duties.
Our Iranian sources add that this Iranian official operates under such deep cover that he uses a false name and few people even in Tehran know his real identity.
Sitting in too on some of their sessions was acting Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief and head of its intelligence, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami.
The new pact presents a major obstacle to any further credible intelligence-gathering on Iran from Turkey.
Our sources disclose that the MIT showed Tehran its good will by jumping the gun on the pact in the third week of October and forcing the many agents based on the Turkish border with Iran to pack their bags and quit. Their main task, with or without the knowledge of Ankara, was to quiz fleeing Iranians who were heading via Turkey for Europe or the United States.
That Turkey and Iran were in the process of setting up an intelligence partnership came to the Obama administration’s knowledge last month. It is believed to have prompted The Washington Post disclosure of Oct. 17 that Turkey had blown the cover of an Iranian spy ring working for Israel.
According to that report, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Fidan last year shopped 10 Iranian agents serving the Israeli Mossad and US intelligence, who had been using the ease of crossing the border without requiring passports to meet their handlers in Turkey.
Turkey’s betrayal of that network opened the door to negotiations with Iran on the new pact.
Our intelligence sources also report that the day it was signed, Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Asian Affairs and former US State Department spokesperson, was on a visit to Ankara. It is not clear if she was in on the pact.
Having just signed it, the Turkish foreign minister reacted with extreme anger Saturday to Lebanes press claims that Ankara had provided intelligence for the Israeli Air Force strike on a Russian anti-air missile consignment in the Syrian coastal town of Latakia Wednesday Oct.30, to prevent its delivery to Hizballah. Clearly uncomfortable, Davutoglu burst out: “There is an attempt to give the impression that Turkey has coordinated with Israel. We have issues with Syria based on a principle. But let me say it clearly: The Turkish government has never cooperated with Israel against any Muslim country, and it never will,” he told reporters. “Despite differences on Syria, we have deep and historic relations with Iran,” he added.