Amid simmering regional tensions in the wake of mutual military drills, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Oct. 13 that the National Intelligence Organization and the police had uncovered an Iranian spy network in the eastern city of Van, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Iranian border. According to Anadolu, eight people, among them two Iranian agents who were planning to abduct a former Iranian soldier residing in Van, were detained in the operation that took place Sept. 24. The Iranian agents had allegedly offered money to the target’s wife to enlist her collaboration and threatened to harm her relatives in Iran if she refused. On Oct. 4, a court ordered the imprisonment of all eight suspects pending trial on espionage charges.
Arif Keskin, a Turkish expert on Iran, told Al-Monitor he finds the incident fishy, even though Iran makes no bones about targeting dissidents and has publicized previous abductions to message its public that Turkey is not a safe place for defectors. Keskin questioned why a former soldier worthy of an undercover abduction would hide, together with his wife, in a city that is close to the border and easily accessible by Iranians. That the incident was made public belatedly speaks of an intentional timing that is definitely related to the tensions in the Caucasus, he argued.
Deep States Guide to Top World Intelligence Agencies.
—Türkiye’nin: Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT in Turkish).
—National Intelligence Office (MIT in English).
— Iran’s Intelligence Service (English)