The Israeli-Turkish imbroglio over a Washington Post report this week which claimed that Ankara's intelligence apparatus informed Iran that a Mossad-operated spy network was operating in the Islamic Republic refused to die down over the weekend.
According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Turkey's intelligence agencies believe that the report, which was penned by influential foreign affairs commentator David Ignatius, is part and parcel of a deliberate Israeli media campaign aimed at discrediting Hakan Fidan.
Fidan is the head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (commonly known by its Turkish acronym MIT) who has been suspected by Israel and the US of maintaining friendly ties with Tehran.
“We see this media campaign as an attack and there might be an Israeli effort behind it,” a Turkish intelligence source told Hurriyet.“Especially after the Washington Post story on Oct. 17 and the follow-ups with Jerusalem bylines.”
Last week, the Wall Street Journal also ran an article about Fidan, who reportedly has been the subject of American dissatisfaction over his purported role in allowing arms to flow to jihadist rebels in Syria.
Turkish intelligence sources told Hurriyet that they believe it is Israel's intent to smear Fidan through the press in order to discredit his boss, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the eyes of Washington. Erdogan has taken a critical approach toward Israel, as relations between the two governments soured after the Israeli takeover of the Mavi Marmara Gaza protest ship in 2010.
Ankara also believes that Israel leaked the Iran spy network story in order to manufacture a crisis so that the government in Jerusalem could avoid paying compensation to the families of the nine Turkish nationals killed aboard the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commando units.
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