10-Year-Old Network: Details of Turkiye's Latest Blow to Israeli Mossad

“Israel” does not conduct its intelligence operations in Turkiye through its official members and personnel.

“Israel” does not conduct its intelligence operations in Turkiye through its official members and personnel.

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On April 5, 2024, Minister of Interior of Turkiye Ali Yerlikaya announced the arrest of eight individuals suspected of working for the Israeli external intelligence agency Mossad.

Yerlikaya stated that the operation involved various security agencies and that the suspects were detained for collecting information about individuals and companies in Turkiye targeted by Israeli intelligence and for transferring this information and documents to Mossad.

He noted that Turkish judicial authorities decided to detain two of the suspects and placed the other six under judicial supervision.

The minister emphasized that the ministry tracks various espionage activities within Turkiye, stating, "We will never allow espionage activities that target our national unity and solidarity within our borders."

In February 2024, Turkiye announced the arrest of 34 individuals suspected of ties to Mossad and targeting Palestinians living in Turkiye. The Istanbul Prosecutor's Office revealed that the search was ongoing for 12 other suspects accused of similar offenses.

This round of arrests comes a month after the detention of a network of seven individuals following a Turkish security campaign launched at the beginning of 2024 to combat Israeli espionage in the country.

In January 2024, a Turkish court ordered the arrest of 15 individuals and the deportation of eight others suspected of links to Mossad and targeting Palestinians living in the country.

Details of the Operation

In coordination with the Istanbul Prosecutor's Office and the Turkish Intelligence Agency, details of the operation conducted by the counterterrorism branch of the Istanbul Police Department were revealed.

As a result of investigations carried out by the Turkish Intelligence Agency, it was found that a special investigator named Ahmet Ersin Tumlucali (A.I.T) and his wife were affiliated with Mossad between 2011 and 2020.

It was also learned that A.I.T held face-to-face meetings with Mossad agents in Austria (Vienna), Switzerland (Zurich), and Germany (Munich–Frankfurt–Berlin).

According to the information disclosed by the Intelligence Agency, A.I.T, who communicated with Mossad agents through secure means of communication, received funds during the meetings held in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.

As per the instructions received from Mossad, the agent conducted research, tracking, and surveillance activities in Turkiye, Georgia, Germany, and Middle Eastern countries.

He also obtained official documents for taxis and commercial trucks from Middle Eastern countries for use in Mossad operations.

Unfounded Suspicions

From the outset, A.I.T was skeptical when contacted by a Mossad agent under the alias "Jorg Neubach" and "Gavin Alto," claiming to live in Austria and not speaking German.

Among other things that raised suspicions, Jorg Neubach stated that he "could conduct the interview in Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, or Athens, but could not come to Istanbul."

Based on these suspicions, at their first meeting in Vienna, A.I.T brought along a book about Mossad that he had purchased in Turkiye and asked Jorg Neubach if he was a Mossad agent.

In response, Jorg Neubach laughed and did not answer the question.

Nevertheless, A.I.T continued to work for almost 9 years despite knowing that the individuals he was working for were agents of the Israeli Mossad.

In response to Mossad's instructions, A.I.T later established a network consisting of 9 individuals.

According to information revealed by the Intelligence Agency, Neubach instructed the agent A.I.T to track a Middle Eastern person in Istanbul.

In this context, A.I.T formed a tracking team consisting of 4 individuals who followed the target step by step for two days.

The tracking activity was then reported by A.I.T's wife, and the report was sent to Neubach.

As a result of the joint operation conducted by the counterterrorism branch of the Turkish Intelligence Agency and the Istanbul Police Department, A.I.T and members of his network were arrested on April 3, 2024.

Upon commencement of the investigations, the network members confessed to the charges against them, while legal proceedings against A.I.T and his wife are still ongoing.

Expert Commentary

Commenting on the operation, Turkish researcher Mehmet Maruf stated, "First, it is essential to understand the structure of Israeli intelligence. The operatives here cannot be members of the Israeli intelligence in any way."

He further told Al-Estiklal that "Israel does not carry out its intelligence operations in Turkiye through its officials and members." Instead, Maruf clarified that activities are carried out through "local elements that are bought or coerced into cooperation in neighboring countries."

He explained that "only in major intelligence operations do the main intelligence officers put the final touches, as is the case in all intelligence operations that have occurred in Islamic countries before."

Maruf pointed out that "the individuals who carried out this operation here are not members of the Israeli intelligence, but rather collaborators used by Mossad."

Therefore, the Turkish researcher sees it as "difficult to obtain any information related to Israel by arresting espionage networks in Turkiye."

He considered "these operations targeting collaborators with Mossad as preventive measures against actions planned by the Zionist regime, to cover up the massacres in Gaza, and to change the agenda of the security and political apparatuses.

"These operations may just be steps to prevent complications that may arise within the country and problems that could change the political and security agenda of the country.

"The objective of these operations can also be seen as sending a message to the Turkish public opinion, which says that Ankara has not taken any tangible steps regarding the Israeli aggression on Gaza," he concluded.