Are the Intelligence Wars starting?

If we say this, it wouldn't be wrong: Türkiye seems to be the new agenda of the Israeli war cabinet. Decisions have been made to target Ankara. Sequential statements are coming as if a button has been pressed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen initiated the first spark in this regard. Tagging the official social media account of the Presidency, Cohen said, 'You can host Hamas terrorists fleeing from Gaza in your country.' The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to this disrespectful attitude in its own style. Ministry Spokesperson Öncü Keçeli said, 'Attacks on the civilian population cannot be accepted as legitimate defense.'

In between, some fanatics also targeted Türkiye, but I don't consider them. The statement I particularly want to focus on came from the Israeli Internal Intelligence Service, Shin Bet. Director Ronen Bar spoke - leaked through the Israeli state channel - and stated that Israel would target Hamas members in Lebanon, Türkiye, and Qatar.

Contradiction 1: While Bar made this statement, Mossad agents who probably served in Doha during the short-term ceasefire, likely with the permission of the Qatari government, were returning to their country. As you know, it was revealed that during the ceasefire, Qatari intelligence officers served in Tel Aviv, and Israeli intelligence officers served in Doha.

To understand what has happened after this statement, I checked my sources. While looking into the background of the issue, there was an important briefing from the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to Israeli intelligence as a response. According to the news reported by Anadolu Agency, MİT gave necessary warnings to Israeli counterparts and informed them that 'Any contrary attitude would have serious consequences.'

In the history of intelligence, this is an unprecedented situation. What I conclude from the briefing via Anadolu Agency and some of my discussions is this: This reckless statement by Shin Bet Director has caused serious anger in Ankara. For several reasons...

Firstly, this is an open threat. It is an admission that Israel is pursuing illegal operations. It is a warning. Nobody can give threats to Türkiye. Those who use a language of threat will get a response, both on the field and at the table. Secondly, those familiar with the matter know that there is an unwritten agreement among intelligence agencies. According to this agreement, illegal operations are not conducted in the sovereign territory of another country. If the agreement is violated, there will be consequences. Thirdly, Türkiye is not the old Türkiye. MİT is not the old MİT. It has increased its capacity and capability. Previously, Russian, Iranian, and Israeli intelligence services attempted illegal operations against third parties in Türkiye, but they know this reality.

Contradiction 2: Israeli intelligence is aware that it cannot embark on such an adventure in light of these facts. Nevertheless, this statement was made with the purpose of targeting Türkiye.

The service led by Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar is under criticism in Israel. They could not get information about the attack Hamas launched on October 7 and its long-term preparation. In this sense, they are blind to the eyes and deaf to the ears.

Regarding the Türkiye dimension, MİT has recently dismantled the intelligence network Mossad was trying to establish to gather information about Palestinians in Türkiye as part of the 'counter-intelligence' activities. I emphasize once again: It is not only Mossad whose influence has been broken in Türkiye. Effective operations have also been carried out against Iranian intelligence. I'm writing this because it has been reflected in the newspapers before: Israeli and Iranian intelligence services tried to turn Türkiye into a battleground. MİT thwarted cells belonging to both countries. When the Iranian cell attempting to kidnap an Israeli businessman was exposed, Tel Aviv thanked Ankara. Similarly, the series of assassinations of Chechens in Türkiye ended in 2015. We do not know which operations were conducted to stop the Chechen murders. History will tell. The last publicly known information about the issue is from 2021. A six-person espionage network preparing for assassinations against Chechens was dismantled.

Contradiction 3: It is a serious matter for the head of a foreign intelligence service to announce that they have decided to carry out operations in Türkiye. Equally strange. Intelligence agencies do not determine targets with a drum and horn.

The Israeli secret service, whose influence in Türkiye has been broken, can use proxy organizations or structures to achieve its goals. However, these potential proxies are probably closely monitored. Türkiye's message is clear. Tel Aviv has received that message. Then why was this strange statement made?

There is an important reason for this. It touches on Netanyahu. Important developments are awaiting the Israeli Prime Minister. Let's continue this on Friday in this column.

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