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Turkey's Foreign Minister: We Didn't Expose Israeli Spies

Ahmet Davutoglu says a report that his country deliberately exposed Israeli spies in Iran is "just a smear campaign."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/18/2013, 4:14 AM

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Reuters

Turkey’s Foreign Minister denied on Thursday a report in the Washington Post that his country deliberately exposed a network of Iranians who had been working with the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.

Ahmet Davutoglu said the allegations were "without any foundation," adding, "[Turkish intelligence chief Hakan] Fidan and other security agents report only to the Turkish government and the parliament.”

"This is just a smear campaign. This is not true. It is dirty propaganda," Davutoglu stated.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius had written that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government last year revealed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting in Turkey with Mossad handlers.

Sources told the paper that Turkey’s deliberate exposure of the agents’ identities was a “significant” blow to Israel’s intelligence in Iran.

Davutgolu’s rejection of the report came hours after Turkish officials slammed it.

Officials in Erdogan's government, who spoke anonymously, attributed the story to attempts by “foreign powers” to upend Turkey's growing leadership role in the Middle East.

In an interview earlier on Thursday, 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.