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Turkish Officials: Iran Report Was Just to Make Us Look Bad

Like Israeli officials, Turks decry Washington Post report that they 'informed' on Israeli agents to Iran, denying the charges.
By David Lev
First Publish: 10/17/2013, 7:32 PM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AFP/File

Turkish officials slammed the report in the Washington Post Thursday that claimed Ankara had given Tehran the identities of ten Israelis who were gathering information in Iran.

According to the report in the Washington Post Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan deliberately exposed a network of Iranians who had been working with the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. Sources told the paper that Turkey’s deliberate exposure of the agents’ identities was a “significant” blow to Israel’s intelligence in Iran.

Turkish officials denied the story. Officials in Erdogan's government attributed the story to attempts by “foreign powers” to upend Turkey's growing leadership role in the Middle East. One of the officials, who spoke anonymously, said that “stories are this are part of the campaign” to demote Turkey from its position as a regional leader.

"It's clear the aim of some is to spoil the moderate political atmosphere after Rouhani's election ... and to neutralize Turkey, which contributes to solving problems in the region and which has a relationship with Iran,” the official told the Reuters news agency.

Earlier, reports said that officials in Israel's intelligence community had expressed shock and anger over the report. In an interview, former Mossad head Danny Yatom said that if true, “this is unacceptable behavior by Turkey directed at Israel. This could certainly prevent Iranians from cooperating with Israel on nuclear issues. We all want to have good relations with as many countries as possible, and it is important to Israel to foster good relations with all countries. But if the report is true, Turkey has, with this harmful action, mortally wounded relations with Israel,” he said.