Turkey Relied on Prior Russian Intelligence – and Missed the Nightclub Attack

Abundantly armed on Dec. 19 with prior intelligence on ISIS’ coming New Year terror offensive against night spots, celebrations and crowd centers in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey’s MIT National Intelligence Agency went into action preemptively on Dec-28-31 to sweep up a flock of suspects.
Security teams carried out raids in both main cities, as well as Izmir in the west, Andiyaman in the southeast and Hatay, Adana and Mersin, in the south.
Altogether 63 terror suspects were detained, most of them from foreign countries.
What this intelligence bonanza missed out on was the Jan.1 shooting attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub, which left 39 people dead and 69 injured.
So who provided this flawed basket of intelligence?
On Jan 2, the US embassy in Ankara was quick to deny passing out any “information about threats to specific entertainment venues including the Reina nightclub,” adding “Contrary to rumors circulating in social media, the US government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods.”
The Embassy further clarified that it had only issued “a general holiday season threat warning for Turkey and various parts of Europe on Dec. 22,” advising citizens to “avoid large crowds or crowded places when possible, especial locations where Westerners, tourists and expatriates are known to frequent…”
That was all.
Then, if not the Americans, with whom Turkish intelligence had worked closely until recently, who passed the advance data on ISIS’ New Year terror targets to MIT?
The date is instructive: The MIT was tipped off on Dec. 19, the same day that Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was assassinated in Ankara by a Turkish gunman, Mert Mevlut, a member of the elite police unit for VIP security.
The FSB had hoped that turning on the intelligence tap for Turkey’s counterterrorism agencies would broaden the net for catching the network behind the ambassador’s murder.
This stratagem proved disappointing on two scores: The Islamist network behind the assassination was not run down and the deadly Reina attack was not prevented.
DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources note that information on the investigation into the ambassador’s murder remains under tight wraps in Ankara and Moscow. The extent of their intelligence ties therefore remains obscure, whereas the sharp slackening of Turkish-US ties was exposed by the detailed US embassy communiqué.

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