Turkey’s government continues to remain silent after shocking revelations last week that its powerful National Intelligence Organization (MIT) arrested an Iranian woman after her visit to Israel’s embassy in Ankara.
In a series of message exchanges with The Jerusalem Post, a spokesman for Turkey’s government wrote last week: “Let me take it back and see if we can get someone to respond.” A follow up query from the Post to the spokesman prompted his response: “Will respond via email.”
When further pressed by the Post, the spokesman wrote on Monday: “We have received your email. If there is a response, you will receive it via email. Thank you.”
FoxNews.com first reported last week that a source told the American news organization that “a woman who was incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison – where the regime keeps most of its political prisoners – was arrested leaving the Israeli embassy in Ankara by Turkish intelligence.”
The source added that Turkey’s government deported her to Iran and into the hands of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The US government has classified Iran’s IRGC a terrorist organization.
The Post confirmed the source’s account of the MIT’s deportation of the Iranian woman to the IRGC. The IRGC has played a role in the murder of hundreds of American military personnel in the Middle East.
According to the source, who declined to be named, the Iranian woman “had been given 16 years on espionage and terrorism charges. She had an Israeli boyfriend whom she had met in Europe and who she says works as a doctor for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces].”
The source continued that “the woman had visited Tel Aviv with him on her Iranian passport and most likely was involved in doing something for the Israelis. She is a practicing Muslim and would pray regularly yet somehow felt drawn to or connected to Israel.”
Turkey’s apparent betrayal of Israel in Ankara is not the first instance of Turkey’s Islamist government delivering an ostensible intelligence setback to Israel. In 2013, The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported a story titled “Turkey blows Israel’s cover for Iranian spy ring.”
Ignatius wrote at the time that “the Turkish-Israeli relationship became so poisonous early last year that the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is said to have disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.”
Turkey’s alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran has garnered widespread attention due its alleged role in helping Tehran evade US sanctions.
Last week, an attorney for Turkey’s public lender financial institution Halkbank urged the dismissal of a US legal case against the bank.
Halkbank faces an indictment for a complex case involving charges of bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy with respect to its use of “money services and front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates” to bust US sanctions, according to the Erdogan-aligned Daily Sabah paper.
According to the US prosecutor’s indictment in New York, “High-ranking government officials in Iran and Turkey participated in and protected this scheme,” which illegally delivered $20 billion of Iranian oil profits.
Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, pleaded guilty in 2017 for his critical role in the sanctions evasion enterprise. Zarrab said Iran’s regime circumvented US sanctions through complex transactions involving gold exchanges with the aid of Halkbank and the Turkish government.Dr. Nikos Michailidis, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told the Post Erdogan has forged a coalition with the ultra-nationalist networks in the military and in the bureaucracy. He said that "These groups promote closer ties with Iran. We have seen reports that reveal how the Turkish regime has been deporting Iranian citizens who have been trying to escape the Iran regime's persecution. I also believe that Iran and Turkey collaborate closely in human trafficking, by sending thousands of immigrants to Europe in order to destabilize the EU's peripheral countries and cause social upheaval." Michailidis, a leading expert on Turkey, added that "Moreover, they are trying to undermine US interests and presence in the region and threaten Israel. The Turkish regime engages in psychological operations, trying to blind and influence Western governments by portraying itself as a competitor of Tehran. But this is blatant propaganda. Turkish and Iranian intelligence services collaborate closely in various fields. This collaboration must be taken very seriously, analyzed deeply and dealt with efficiently."