Daily Israel Report

Report: U.S. Cancelled Drone Delivery to Turkey

Congress cancelled delivery of UAVs to Turkey because of its exposing of Israeli spies to Iran, reports Turkish newspaper.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/22/2013, 12:06 AM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AFP photo

The United States Congress cancelled the delivery to Turkey of 10 Predators - unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - following Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan's disclosure of the identity of 10 Iranians who had been working for the Mossad, the Turkish Taraf daily reported on Monday.

According to the newspaper, the claims about Fidan can be traced back to the year after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.

Reacting to Turkey's move, the U.S. cancelled the delivery to Turkey of the 10 UAVs that Turkey has been expecting since June of last year. Congress decided to cancel the delivery because of the close relations between Turkey’s intelligence services and Iran’s intelligence service, reported Taraf.

Turkish government sources claimed, according to the Today’s Zaman newspaper, that the timing of the release of the news about Fidan in the American press is related to the fact that Turkey has chosen a Chinese defense firm sanctioned by Washington to co-produce a $4 billion long-range air and missile defense system, rejecting rival bids from Russian, U.S. and European firms.

The Washington Post reported last week that Turkey handed over to Tehran a list of Israeli agents in Iran. Sources told the paper that Turkey’s deliberate exposure of the agents’ identities was a “significant” blow to Israel’s intelligence in Iran.

An earlier report, this time in the Wall Street Journal, said that Fidan was acting “independently” on Syria operations, jeopardizing Western interests there.

Taraf's report stated that the Iranian agents were uncovered within the scope of another operation, but Israel and the U.S. put the blame on Fidan for the disclosure of the identities of the Iranian agents.

Turkey has blamed Israel for leaking the story about the exposure of the spies. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu originally denied that his country’s intelligence chief exposed Israeli spies, but later seemed to confirm the Washington Post report.

“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,” Davutoglu said.

MK Avigdor Lieberman wrote Saturday that he is not surprised by Turkey's accusations that Israel leaked the Washington Post story.

He reminded his followers that he had been opposed to issuing an apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident.

"My opposition to an apology to Turkey is not new and I expressed it clearly, before and after the fact,” he added. “I thought and explained that it will not lead to an improvement in relations between the countries, but only hurt Israel's status in the area, and play into the hands of the extremist elements in the Middle East, including Turkey, under extremist Islamist [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.

Turkey under Erdogan is not interested in improving relations with Israel, stated Lieberman. “That is why I hope we all stop deluding ourselves and understand the reality we live in and the difference between what is desired and what actually exists.”