Israel’s foreign minister is planning a series of measures to retaliate against Turkey in an apology row, including military aid to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a news report that appeared in Yedioth Ahranoth has said.
The planned measures apparently came out of a meeting attended by senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials on Thursday, which the report said was held in preparation for a meeting on Saturday that will be attended by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a harsh critic of efforts to restore the relationship with Turkey after Ankara announced a set of sanctions against Israel for its refusal to apologize for the killing of eight Turks and one Turkish-American on an aid ship trying to break the blockade of Gaza on May 31, 2010.
Yedioth Ahranoth said Lieberman plans meetings with PKK leaders in Europe in order to find ways to cooperate with them “in every possible area.” In these meetings, the PKK leaders may ask Israel for military aid in the form of training and arms supplies, the report said.
Lieberman denied the report a week after it was published; however, Lieberman is a person from whom almost everyone would expect such “policy” statements. For that matter it would not be exaggerated to suggest a new name for the Israeli foreign minister: Avigdor Ahmedinejad. The Israeli foreign minister not only talks like Ahmedinejad, he also thinks like Ahmedinejad and acts like Ahmedinejad.
His alleged statement was in an audio recording leaked to a pro-PKK website. In the recording, undersecretary of the prime ministry at the time and current National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, MİT Deputy Undersecretary Afet Güneş and PKK leaders Sabri Ok and Mustafa Karasu negotiate on possible ways to bring PKK militants down from the mountains.
As expected, most of the Turkish public now thinks that the audio recording was leaked by Israeli intelligence services. More importantly, a source close to Turkish security forces whom I had spoken with weeks prior to the last elections in June 2011, had told me that the state thought a foreign intelligence organization may leak an audio recording between the PKK leaders and MIT to harm the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. At that time I did not pay much attention to my source because he, too, was pointing to Israel at the time. When he mentioned Israel, I had thought to myself, “Great, yet another conspiracy theory!” Now, I seriously think that I should have pointed out the possibility of such a leak before the elections.
Sources explained the reason why a foreign intelligence agency, most likely MOSSAD, wanted to leak the audio at that time: to harm the AKP before the elections. He further argued that Erdoğan was expecting such a thing to happen before the elections and that is why Erdoğan had surprisingly mentioned that MİT was in negotiations with Öcalan under the government’s authorization. Now it makes sense why Erdoğan took such a risk to reveal that the government has ordered MİT to negotiate with PKK leaders, to reduce the risk of a surprise leak.
Now the question is what could have been more significant than the recent general elections for the foreign intelligence service, given that they did not leak the recording before now? Political observers are linking the leak to Erdoğan’s trip to the Arab countries. If my source is right and the leak is a dirty job by the Israeli intelligence service, it may be a sign that Turkish intelligence agencies will retaliate soon. Of course, Avigdor Ahmedinejad is helping this confrontation more than anyone else.
Published in Turkey's TODAY'S ZAMAN on Sept. 16, 2011