Lieberman: Erdogan isn't interested in improving ties with Israel

Israeli lawmaker addresses Turkish claims that Israel was behind Washington Post spy-ring report, says Erdogan not interested in rapprochement. Turkish FM says western criticism of intelligence chief uncalled-for

MK Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday addressed Turkish claims that Israel was behind a Washington Post report that argued that Anakara had disclosed an alleged Israel spy ring to Iran.


Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page: "My opposition to apologizing to Turkey is not new and I have expressed it clearly before and after. I was determined that it would not lead to rapprochement but would only compromise Israel's status in the region and play into the hands of Mideast extremists, including the radical Islamism Erdogan-led Turkey."  


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"That is why I'm not surprised by Turkey's accusations that Israel is the one behind the Washington Post report regarding 'exposing Israeli spies in Iran,' and I'm not even sure whether there was such a spy-ring," Lieberman added.


"That Turkish accusation that argues that Israel was behind the (Washington Post) report in bid to avoid paying compensation to the Marmara passengers – as are previous accusations that argued that Israel was behind the riots of Turkish protesters in Taksim Square and Erdogan's claims that he had 'documents and proof' that Israel was behind the Egypt coup that ousted Morsi – is baseless and proves again that Erdogan's Turkey is not interested in improving ties with Israel.


"That is why I hope we all stop deluding ourselves and understand the reality we live in and the difference between what we want and we have."


Earlier Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu backed Turkish intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, regarding the latter's conduct in "exposing Israeli spies in Iran." Davutoğlu was quoted in the Turkish daily Hürriyet on Saturday saying western criticism of Fidan was uncalled-for, as the intelligence chief was only doing his job.


“This is the day to stand for Fidan, who has been the target of these accusations. Fidan is not doing this work for his personal interests but for Turkey,” the foreign minister stated.


“When you read these articles, Hakan Fidan is accused of establishing an independent intelligence structure and not letting other intelligence agencies operate in Turkey. Therefore, he is being blamed for doing his job,” Davutoğlu said in an interview with Kanal 7.


On Thursday, David Ignatius, a senior Washington Post reporter, claimed Turkey had disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.


Reportedly, officials slammed the Turkish move as potential compromise of Israeli interest. According to the Post report, Israel suspected Fidan of having transferred information to Iran, because of Fidan's seemingly friendly links with Tehran.


The Turkish foreign minister, however, insisted Saturday that Ignatius' reports were contradictory and inconsistent. “These (claims) are so inconsistent that on the one hand it is said Fidan is close to Iran, but in the same article, he is accused of supporting groups who fight against Iran’s influence. This is a very serious accusation. None of our officials act on behalf of any other country,” Davutoğlu said.


“Turkey is not a country where other intelligence units can comfortably perform operations. This is a requirement of independence,” the foreign minister added.


According to Davutoğlu, Fidan has become the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) after gaining “everyone’s credit” for taking part in negotiations with Israel and authorities in Gaza.


Fidan is one of the closest advisors of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was appointed Turkey's intelligence chief in 2010, and was considered by then Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as being pro-Iran.


A recently published profile in the Wall Street Journal has placed Fidan as the number two man in Turkey, even ahead of President Abdullah Gul, and an Israeli official was quoted as saying that "it is clear he is not an enemy of Iran."



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פרסום ראשון: 10.19.13, 18:17
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