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Turkey is dismantling an Iranian network that had planned to attack Israelis in Istanbul

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Turkish police and intelligence services (MIT), in cooperation with their counterparts in Israel, recently dismantled an Iranian network that had planned to attack Israeli citizens in Turkey, according to local press reports and confirmed by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday, at a Press conference in Ankara during his last official visit to office ahead of his appointment as prime minister next week. Turkish police arrested at least eight people.

“In recent weeks, the lives of Israeli citizens have been saved thanks to diplomatic and security cooperation between Israel and Turkey (…). Iran is behind these attempted terrorist attacks. The intelligence information leaves no room for doubt. We are not just talking about the killing of innocent Israeli tourists, but about a clear violation of Turkish sovereignty by Iranian terrorism,” Lapid said. His Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Çavusoglu, said that “a message had been conveyed” to the Tehran authorities: “We will never allow these threats to occur in our country.”

Several Iranians have been killed or killed under mysterious circumstances in Israeli Mossad operations over the past two months in Iran as part of the covert war between the two countries. Of the deceased are two scientists who, according to an Iranian source cited by New York Timeswere poisoned, and another, a Revolutionary Guard colonel allegedly working on a plan to attack Israeli, American and French targets.

Tehran’s warning that it intends to avenge these deaths has put Israel on high alert. Earlier last week, the Hebrew State’s foreign ministry issued an appeal to its citizens to leave Istanbul “as soon as possible” and limit their travel to Turkey. Even then, he emphasized that there had been “attempted Iranian terrorist attacks” against Israeli citizens. This Thursday, several Turkish media outlets published that on June 17, Turkish police arrested eight people – five of them Iranian citizens, suspected spies and the rest “local collaborators” – in a hotel and three rented apartments in Istanbul’s central Beyoglu district. According to the Turkish press, two pistols, two silencers and numerous documents and digital material were confiscated from them. The purpose of the plot was allegedly to target Israeli tourists and a retired diplomat. Some Turkish media claim the suspects were handed over to Israel by the Mossad.

It’s not the first time Iranian agents have been spotted or dismantled on Turkish territory. On May 30, Iranian opposition journalist Bagher Moradi disappeared in Ankara — where he was living after fleeing his country almost a decade ago — and his family has denounced that he may have been kidnapped by Iranian agents. Last year, a former Iranian army pilot reported several kidnapping attempts in which eight people were arrested by Turkish police. Also in 2021, an Iranian consulate employee was arrested for his role in the assassination two years earlier of former Iranian spy Masud Molavi Vardanjani, who was in exile in Turkey. And in 2020, 13 people were arrested for their involvement in a conspiracy against Arab-Iranian activist Habib Chaab, who was kidnapped in Turkey and taken to Iran.

“Our immediate goal is to restore the necessary calm to change our travel warnings to Turkey, which is the number one destination for Israelis,” Lapid said in Ankara. Israeli Prime Minister in chest He stated that over the past year there had been “great progress in Israel-Turkey relations” and both countries had indeed agreed to restore their ties at the ambassadorial level, who have been absent from their respective posts since the bloody Israeli crackdown on Turkey, the Gaza protests in 2018. Turkey’s foreign minister, however, warned that this process of “normalization” with Israel will not change his country’s Palestine policy.

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Iranian allies support Kurdish PKK

One of the reasons for this growing cooperation between the governments of Turkey and Israel is the growing tensions between Ankara and Tehran, although they have had close ties in the past. In addition to the actions of Iranian agents in Turkish territory, Turkey is increasingly angered by the Islamic Republic’s rapprochement with the Kurdish armed group PKK. In Iraq, pro-Iranian Shia militias have developed intense cooperation with the PKK and its local allies around Sinjar Yazidi territory against Turkish and US operations. Peshmerga the KDP (the ruling party in Iraqi Kurdistan, an ally of Ankara). Turkey, in turn, has tried to lobby in favor of a governing coalition between anti-Iranian Shia cleric Múqtada Al Sadr’s faction, the KDP and the Sunni bloc, although efforts have been in vain and Sadrist MPs recently voted to quit their seats, likely affecting education an executive branch more favorable to Tehran.

In Syria, a joint command room was formed with the participation of representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, local Shia militias, the PKK, the Kurdish-Syrian YPG militias, Russia and groups opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad to counter a new Turkish Military invasion in the north of the country, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been threatening for weeks. According to Ankara, the aim is to wrest control of areas near the Turkish border from militias linked to the Kurdish armed group, which is controlled by Turkey itself, the European Union and the United States (although Washington is working with the YPG). militias in the northeast of the country).

Opposition to Iran has also played a role in the reconciliation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, although economic reasons are more important here. On Wednesday, the crown prince and strongman of the Saudi monarchy, Mohamed Bin Salman, met Erdogan in Ankara and the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation in the military, diplomatic and economic spheres. The thaw has been brewing since last April, when a Turkish court decided to stay the trial of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was committed by a team of agents linked to Bin Salmán .

Turkey, in a crisis situation with inflation exceeding 70% (more than double according to independent calculations), is trying to resume exports to Saudi Arabia, which have been practically halted due to the boycott, which has prevented tourism from returning the Kingdom and that Riyadh approves investments and currency exchange (To deceive) to increase the reserves of the Turkish central bank.

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Source elpais.com

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