Today's MENSA ALERT: New Turkish intelligence chief's close ties with Iran worries Israel
EL AVIV -- Israel has expressed concern over the appointment of Turkey's new spy chief.
Officials said Turkey's new espionage director was deemed close to Iran. They said Hakan Fidan, director of National Intelligence Organization, could relay Israeli military and technological data to the Teheran regime.
"This could result in the Iranians having access to secret information," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
In an address to his Labor Party, Barak echoed increasing concern by Israeli leaders of Turkey's emerging alliance with Iran. Officials said Fidan, 42, was appointed by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to increase Turkey's intelligence ties to both Iran and Syria, allies against Israel.
"Turkey is a friendly country, a strategic ally, but the nomination in recent weeks of a new chief of the Turkish secret services who is a supporter of Iran worries us," Barak said.
Fidan was appointed intelligence chief on May 27. He had served as undersecretary of foreign affairs as well as Turkey's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Ankara has been the only NATO state to support Iran's nuclear program and oppose United Nations sanctions.
Officials said Fidan was believed linked to the Turkish-sponsored flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010. They said Fidan approved the passage of the seven-ship flotilla, including Hava Marmara, which contained about 100 trained Islamic fighters. The Israel Navy intercepted the flotilla and nine passengers, eight of them Turks, were killed.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry submitted a formal protest of Barak's remarks. On Aug. 2, the ministry summoned Israel's ambassador to Turkey, Gaby Levy, where he received a note that expressed Ankara's displeasure.