ABDULLAH – NATO must be alarmed about ErdoIan’s witch hunt

NATO must be alarmed about ErdoIan’s witch huntIn an article I wrote on Jan. 25, 2013 with the title andldquoSpy ring compromised security of Turkey, US and NATO allies,andrdquo I revealed how an espionage gang had penetrated the Turkish military and other government agencies for the purpose of selling highly confidential documents to the highest bidder The indictment and the evidence dossiers included shocking details on how the gang set up honey traps for officers and bureaucrats to convince them to hand over the classified information.

This was not simply a major breach of security for Turkey it also uncovered a huge mole that was stealing US and NATO documents that had been entrusted to a NATO ally.The intelligence officers and police chiefs who had been investigating the criminal gang since 2011 under the supervision of public prosecutors came up with a solid case against the gang with enough evidence for a conviction at trial and lengthy sentences.

These investigators certainly deserve to be hailed as national heroes and definitely qualify for official recognition or a decoration from the NATO military alliance for exposing a major leak in the security net. Yet, these investigators were detained this week in a politically-orchestrated investigation by pro-Iranian President-elect Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s government on trumped-up charges that will never stand up in a court where the principles of due process and a fair trial are rigorously practiced.

These heroes held their heads high as they were escorted by the police to the courthouse for their arraignments. They were not ashamed of what they had done, unlike other criminals who have been caught on the wrong side of the law.

They vowed that they had done nothing wrong and had only served their nation, knowing very well that the fabricated charges leveled against them will not stand up to the legal scrutiny of the Turkish justice system By the way, the confidentiality of the documents seized in the possession of the suspects was also verified by the Turkish military, which asked the court to keep the evidence under lock and key. I am re-posting my 2013 article to remember their service and recall once again how these police chiefs contributed to strengthening the security of Turkey and of the NATO alliance.

andldquoIt almost felt like I was reading quite a sensational Hollywood movie script, while scanning through the thousands of pages from the espionage gang indictment a high criminal court in Izmir accepted earlier this week. To me, the question of how the gang managed to corrupt so many junior and senior officers with offerings like cash, women, blackmail and intimidation became less relevant than the question of how on earth this gang had evaded counter-espionage safety measures supposedly in place to check this kind of intrusion in the Turkish military.

I believe this major scandal seriously calls into question the capabilities of the Turkish military to prevent infiltration.andldquoUnfortunately the fallout from this exposandeacute will not just be limited to Turkey because, judging from the list of documents leaked to this gang, the US and NATO military allianceand#39s security measures were also compromised.

This scandal may invite the wrath of Turkeyand#39s allies. The prosecutorsand#39 office detailed highly classified documents seized from suspects who obtained confidential information by blackmailing victims with information about sexual encounters they had with women who were hired by the gang.

The group then either sold or planned to sell these sensitive documents to states or terrorist organizations like the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).andldquoThe investigation by the Izmir Chief Public Prosecutorand#39s Office, launched in 2011, reveals how some branches of the military practically turned into Swiss cheese with so many holes leaking sensitive military information.

The indictment mentions 357 suspects, with Bilgin zkaynak being the leader of the gang. Of the suspects, 93 are under arrest and 55 of them are active officers on duty in the Turkish military.

The indictment also mentions 831 victims and 196 co-plaintiffs.andldquoTo give a hint as to how NATO and US security was compromised, I will cite some incidents mentioned in the indictment.

For example, NATO documents seized from suspect Narin Korkmaz during the execution of a search warrant identified Alparslan Yucel Soysal, also a suspect in the case, as revealing in detail the assets and capabilities of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EAD) units operating in each and every NATO member state. The note next to his name clearly singles out Russia, China and Iran as potential clients for these documents.

andldquoA suspect named Bulent Karaaslan, a bomb expert, supplied secret US and NATO directives in bomb-making and bomb-diffusion techniques to the spy ring. Suspect AydIn Iit, an air force officer, handed over FBI bomb-making analyses to the gang which explained, among other things, how to make improvised bombs manually and where in the car these bombs can be installed.

Suspect Ersin Kapucu, an air force pilot, was identified as an important source for electronic warfare information and data on how it is used in the Turkish Air Force (THK) and NATO. He supplied 22 Powerpoint presentation files dated 2009.

The note about him says that he was soon expected to supply pass codes, which the gang believed would be very beneficial.andldquoThe gang obtained from a mark named Ismail Demir a hard copy of top secret details on AIM-120 missiles used in Turkish F-16 fighter jets.

The note aises that he be rewarded for supplying this sensitive information. Another mark named Anda Keskin, an officer at field corps school of engineering in Izmir, was identified as an important asset in linking up with NATO officers.

The note about him says he knows many NATO Officers and coordinates logistics for them It says Keskin used the Aktur Hotel in Izmir where many NATO officers stayed in a room that was fitted with surveillance equipment.andldquoSuspect Nuri Dereli, a flight lieutenant, supplied the gang with a very sensitive file called andldquoTur_AEM_F16.

pdfandrdquo which is 954 pages long in English and classified as andldquoSecret Releasable to USA, TUR.andrdquo It details technical, tactical and procedural data for F-16s.

The note attached to this file says it should not be obtained by anybody else. It even warned that when a file of a similar nature was leaked before, it created problems between Turkey and the US.

and#39I repeat it should not be leaked in order not to experience similar problems with the US,and#39 the note added.andldquoSimilarly, suspect Okay YalIn, an Air Force officer, leaked sensitive information on Hawk systems, including a 24-page secret document titled andldquo60G-2-2-70 Hawk Passive Engagement Systempdf.

andrdquo Another set of documents seized from suspect SaygIn zdemir details performance reports of pilots assigned to the 151st squadron and their evaluations for war preparedness. A document called andldquoF-1andrdquo reveals frequencies and positions pilots use with the ground control at the 5th Air Base and was described as vital information that cannot be allowed to be leaked to the enemy in wartime.

Another document explains how the ammunitions loaded on F-16s should be used and under what conditions. It says this document cannot be transferred to any country other than Turkey and the US.

A document leaked by Gkhan Gulbalar explains all the nuts and bolts of signal intelligence system named Milsis-23u, used within the General Staffand#39s Electronic Systems Command (GES), the militaryand#39s most comprehensive and top secret communications interception unit.andldquoThere are many documents that involved Greece.

For example, the warplanes were supposed to patrol above the Aegean Sea as part of routine preparations against the possibility of an unexpected war with Greece, but the gang spoiled the militaryand#39s plans by sending the planesand#39 itinerary to the Greek authorities. The indictment said the itinerary information was sent to the Greek authorities within seven minutes of the Turkish military authorities making their decision on which itinerary the warplanes would use.

Metin Kubilay KaIlI was identified as the supplier of this information.andldquoAnother damaging leak was provided by Ahmet Gkul, who had disclosed the radar coverage of Turkish airspace by fixed and mobile radar units.

It also listed the potential coverage from the Airborne Warning and Control System that Turkey will be acquiring soon. The fact that documents included a map with white areas indicating blind spots and gaps in radar coverage should be damaging to Turkeyand#39s national security.

The note says this map was forwarded via Cem EriI to a colonel who is the director of operations at the Greek Larissa Air Force Base.andldquoA cache of documents provided by Cem Uyguner reveals highly classified information on contingency planning for the 192nd squadron units for the Milas-Bodrum Airport, an international airport in Turkey close to the Greek islands.

It discloses protocols, personnel lists, the number of fighter jets, their duty rosters, and landingarking zones during wartime. The gang describes the leak as highly valuable.

Another suspect named Fatih Iengul supplied a copy of a classified report on the Greek militaryand#39s capabilities apparently prepared by a Turkish military attachandeacute in Athens. The gang asks its contacts to link up with the Greek military attachandeacute in Ankara to sell this report to Greece.

It says Turkish intelligence operatives Tun Gunal, UIur GkIen and zgur Acar, who had established contact with the Greek military attachandeacute before, can be utilized again.andldquoThere are more shocking leaks in the indictment that I cannot include here due to space limitations.

But it will be interesting to watch what else we can learn from this major scandal when the first hearing of the case begins in March.andrdquo.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman