Fleet Financing

Pak may have helped Turkey destroy intelligence modules

Cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan, especially in intelligence sharing, has intensified.

New Delhi: Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) recently dismantled two suspected spy cells operating from its soil, one operated by the Iranian VAJA and the other by the Israeli Mossad.

The alleged eight-member Iranian spy cell was dismantled in the eastern Turkish town of Van on September 24, details of which were made public on October 13. The suspected Mossad-led 15-member spy ring was dismantled on October 7, details of which were revealed on Thursday, October 21. All 15 members of this cell, according to sources in Turkey, are of Arab origin.

Sources following such developments have said that the initial leads on these two separate cells were likely generated by the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, which then shared them with MIT.

One such lead was given nearly a year ago, after which MIT kept tabs on suspected members of one of these two networks, allowing them to operate without hindrance, in order to identify their local contacts before arresting them.

It is not clear at this time whether the ISI itself generated the information on these two cells or whether the information was passed to it by the intelligence agency of another country.

Sources also said that there is a very high probability that another Pakistani asset, turned “rogue”, will recently be “silenced” in a collaboration between MIT and ISI.

On Thursday, Turkey was added to the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where it joined Pakistan. Turkey, like Pakistan, has proven not to do enough to control terrorist financing and money laundering. Cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan, especially in the area of ​​intelligence sharing, has seen significant intensification in recent years as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan relies on the support of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to become the new head of the Ummah in place of Saudi Arabia.

In return, Turkey religiously supports Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. In September 2020, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, President ErdoÄŸan called Kashmir a “hot issue”. Pakistan also recognizes the claims of Azerbaijan – which is one of Turkey’s most powerful allies – over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. In January 2021, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan issued a joint statement supporting their respective claims on Kashmir, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh. Khan also verbally supported Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.

In February this year, Erdogan addressed the Pakistani Parliament on a two-day trip to Islamabad, becoming the only foreign head of state to address the Pakistani Parliament on four occasions. The two countries collaborate extensively on defense matters, much of which takes place without any public announcement.

In October 2018, the Pakistani Navy commissioned a 17,000-ton tanker built in collaboration with a Turkish defense company, STM in the port city of Karachi. In July 2018, the Pakistani Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four MILGEM (National Ship) Ada class ships with the Turkish public defense company ASFAT.

After the Turkey-Pakistan high-level dialogue of December 2020, Turkey requested Pakistan’s support to develop a nuclear weapons program. In February 2020, Turkish Aerospace Industries signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pakistan National University of Science and Technology on Defense Aviation.

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