New Turkey’s ‘Native and National’ intelligence Sharing with Russia, Iran and Syria
‘Native and National’ Intelligence Sharing: ‘Stockholm Syndrome’
The meaning of the word intelligence and its meaning and significance for a country
The word intelligence evokes various connotations for every person depending on their specific background and perceptions. In our daily life, if you ask a person this question, you would quickly realize that they are aware of the topic but what they understand from the word intelligence differ significantly.
The word intelligence is the plural form of the Arabic word of collecting news and information. According to the Turkish Language Institution Updated Turkish Dictionary, the word intelligence is described as ‘newly gathered information, news, to receive information.’
According to our and many NATO military manuals, it is explained as ‘in the process of providing a situational assessment, crafting course of actions, developing plans and operations plans and their executions, conclusions that are reached through the collection,interpretation, assessment and merger of total existing information on regions that is of importance in the near term and long term.’ In short, intelligence equals to Information+Analysis+Interpretation.
In any case, it is a reality that intelligence is a critical topic for any nation’s existence. For example, any US citizen that was born can become a President but to become the CIA director, one needs to be a US citizen for seven generations.
Turkey’s Intelligence Structure which was integrated with the West (NATO, US etc.) before the despicable 15 July coup attempt.
Intelligence is and will continue to be a significant topic for Turkey as well, which resides in a quite troubled neighborhood. Almost all weapons systems of Turkey, who has been a NATO Ally for more than 60 years, are Western based. Naturally, its Armed Forces organizational structure and technical base are also aligned with the West. It was the case for the intelligence domain until the despicable 15 July coup attempt.
The events that unfolded after the 15 July coup attempt, which was described as a gift from God and its implications for the intelligence domain.
In the purge against the Turkish Armed Forces after the despicable coup attempt, there are two main branches that are under the weapon sight: ‘Personnel and intelligence Branches’. These are not chosen by accident. Any reader that is close to the subject would validate the truth that if Armed Forces lacks professional personnel/manpower and intelligence enablers, the technology that it possesses would not translate into combat power. The real force multipliers are well-trained personnel, and robust intelligence apparatus. The immediate dismissal of personnel from the aforementioned branches and their replacement with incapable self-ambitious personnel is not by accident either.
The repercussions of such a monumental widespread purge will be long lasting: The brain death of Turkish Armed Forces has taken place. However, this subject which is full of lessons needs to be recorded in history as the second Committee of Union ad Progress (İttihat ve Terakki) but will not be delved further in this article, which is beyond the scope of this article.
At this unprecedented time which is labeled as state of emergency, with the judicial branch that is designed by the inexperienced Perincek-AK judges and the Ergenekon-Balyoz leftovers who have returned with immense revenge sentiments, well-trained pilots, special force operators and the Staff officers have been systemically put out of the system. This resulted with the TGS’ hand being tied. Simultaneously, as the plan for the personnel dimension was ongoing, the intelligence domain was not left untouched.
The ‘overarching mind’ that prepared itself way before for this immense purge, simultaneously attacked to all components of intelligence structure, started the operation a year before by strengthening the police intelligence and delegating GES Command from TGS to MIT, which tries to solve problems by sending a few missiles down range to trigger a conflict with Syria. As of today, there are no capable cadres that can fill the posts for foreign intelligence services, therefore there is no capacity. More frankly, today, there is no and can not be intelligence that Turkey can share with regards to any development around the world, excluding the ones taken from the NATO Intelligence Pool (BICES). From now on, not only Turkey’s hands are tied but eyes are blinded and ears are blocked. This is critical and we will get back to this point later.
However, the Turkish intelligence which was paralyzed at all levels including the fight against PKK and the defense of the homeland is capable in one area: ‘Baath type intelligence’. New Turkey’s deep and shady Baath intelligence is gaining ground and protection every day, incomparable to its former status.
The last activity of this intelligence approach included allegations of monitoring and recording internet activities of its own citizens by using specific technologies and profiling them accordingly.  It is exactly this intelligence which allowed for a Turkey where multiple bombing can happen at the center of capital and voluntarily brought Turkey to the edge of a civil war along with the problems at the border.
Axis shift of Turkey: The action plan for ‘Native and National’ intelligence sharing with Russia, Iran and Syria without making it public.
With its several dubious aspects still in question, right after the 15 July coup attempt, as it was explained in detail previously, the secular cadres who have resisted to Erdoğan’s New Turkey vision has been purged from TSK which resulted with the Country experiencing a visible axis shift, the Western direction of the Turkish Republic turned to the opposite direction to Russia and Iran. Not a platonic love in nature, Erdoğan and later the Foreign Minister has apologized and thanked Mr. Putin by saying ‘As they say, true friends become evident during difficult times and Russia has demonstrated this.” declaring this love affair to the whole world.
This emerging affair has also impacted all relatives and resulted in the arrest of the pilot who downed the Russian jet and the Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu declaring “I would like to visit the wife of the Russian pilot and express my condolences.”
At the same time, the main advisor to the Iranian religious leader Ayatullah Ali Hamaney and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayeti underlined that this coup attempt demonstrated which country is a friend or a foe and finalized this temporary mutah marriage.
Naturally, it is possible to see the impacts of these evolving relationships in the intelligence domain, which should be the most private sphere of a nation.The higher echelon of the Russian Parliament, Federation Council’s Defense Committee Deputy Chair Frants Klintsevic, in his interview to İzvestiya, said that without any declaration to the Turkish public, Turkey was included in an intelligence sharing pool between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Klintsevic continued by adding “ NATO’s position after the coup attempt has disappointed Turkey and according to some analyst, the Western powers might be behind this attempt. Therefore, Erdogan and the Turkish government understood that they can establish relations with Russia”
In an effort to foster this relationship, out of synch with the established conventions, Turkish CHOD Gen AKAR has conducted a visit to Russia with Head of Intelligence Fidan who was his partner at the tragicomical coup attempt night and still questions remain after almost 4 months. The timing of this visit was meaningful as well as the accompanying partner was quite daring. The formal TGS announcement with regards to the visit is as follows: Turkish CHOD Gen Hulusi AKAR, as a response to a formal invitation from Russian Federation CHOD Gen Valery GERASIMOV, is conducting a visit to further mil to mil cooperation topics between two countries and exchange views on regional developments.
There is no out of the ordinary situation up to this point. The real strange issue is in the details: Gen AKAR has conducted this visit with National Intelligence Service’s (MIT) pro-Iranian chief with whom he was together all day during the dubious 15 July coup attempt at a time when news was circulating about Turkey’s inclusion in the Russian-Iranian intelligence sharing network.
Intelligence Sharing: Do you have the intelligence for sharing?
Right at this point, we need to expand upon the intelligence sharing issue. It is no rocket science; you need to produce intelligence and share this intelligence in exchange for other intelligence from friend and allied nations.
Now the question is simple. Does Turkey have any intelligence to share with the Allied nations? At this point after all the developments in the aftermath of the attempted coup, this is not possible. Then, why would the other nations share their intelligence with an Ally who does not provide any intelligence? The reason is simple: NATO intelligence pool (BICES)
As a NATO Ally, Turkey is integrated into the BICES intelligence pool and can access to intelligence that is provided by other nations.
Naturally, one would easily question if you would take this intelligence and share with a country that is the very reason why NATO is founded at the first place and also with Iran, who is the usual suspect. This is a very sensitive issue and a huge scandal.
It is evident that NATO will not hesitate to take the necessary actions and might even push Turkey out of the Alliance. Furthermore, the widespread purge against the Western-educated qualified personnel that was filling NATO posts along with the rumors of procurement of a Russian air defense system has strained the already thinned bonds with the Alliance.
Turkey, with her current positioning in the international arena, is viewed as an unfaithful/cheating partner who is taking intelligence from NATO’s intelligence pool and providing it to the Russia-Iran pool, or at the very least has a very high probability to do so. The real outcome of the operation to the intelligence leg is this.
In addition to all these, as it is not the case where thousands of officers, NCOs-especially pilots and staff officers who are contributing added value to the operational effectiveness of the TSK- executing an operation in Syria, deploying considerable number of units to the border and demonstrating signs of a potential operation is completely contrary to any reasoning and common sense, and a choice hard to explain.
Especially, any potential operation inside Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government will bring Turkey face to face with US. It would be quite naive to expect NATO to stand with Turkey in a conflict with Iraq. The most likely scenario is that Erdoğan would isolate itself from NATO and this would have a definite honeymoon effect on Turkey-Russia relations.
In conclusion, unstable in its intelligence axis, rigged, and being a little pretentious, this vicious approach is bearing its fruits immediately. For those who already know, although it is stating the obvious, for the majority who is not familiar with the topic, it is of utmost importance to state it: With Erdoğan and his cadre’s vague and open disclosures, the Turkish Republic is becoming the suspect for relaying the intelligence of NATO to the evil Russia-Iran axis. Furthermore, it is pushed to the Iraq-Syria hell with its hands tied and are bound to see with other’s eyes and hear with other’s ears.
Nowadays, when Turkey is emptying the NATO ranks and footholds, and strengthening Russia-Iran footholds on the opposite side, it is important to point out the silence of the former friends (NATO/EU/US) when all the aspects of democracy, such as rule of law, right to ownership, freedom of press, protection of life is continued with the ‘intelligence sharing’ topic. For example, at the Foreign Minister Meeting in October, did the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ask about the “sharing intelligence to the new friends and Allies” to the Foreign Minister Cavusoglu and if he did, how did he respond. Were the other Allies informed about this newly formed intelligence sharing mechanism? Nobody knows.
Turkey’s drift to the Eastern axis primarily towards Russia is a much deeper anomaly than how it is viewed at a first glance. It is beneficial to remind the public especially in these days where everything that belongs to the past is swept away: The reason why Turkey put a lot of effort to join the NATO Alliance -including participating in Korean War which was thousands of miles away and giving 718 martyrs- was the Russia’s predecessor, Soviet Union. Today, Turkey is rapidly moving away from the West and entering into a contradiction where the very protection it receives is coming from the security umbrella of the Alliance it is moving away from. This situation resembles the hostage feeling the Stockholm Syndrome. We can only hope that the hostage will respond to the outside warnings and wake up from the syndrome.