Turkey expelled Dutch spy posing as diplomat, says newspaper
January 17, 2012 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Turkey secretly deported a Dutch intelligence officer posing as a diplomat, according to a leading Dutch newspaper. According to Amsterdam-based De Volkskrant, the unnamed Dutch spy held a diplomatic post at the embassy of the Netherlands in Turkish capital Ankara. In reality, however, he was an intelligence officer in the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), Holland’s domestic intelligence agency. He was quietly expelled last year, says the paper, and is currently serving at another Dutch embassy in the Middle East. De Volkskrant notes that the reason why the Turkish government decided to expel the AIVD officer remains unclear. The paper quotes one unnamed member of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who, when questioned about the expulsion, said simply: “sorry but that’s a no go zone [...]; I love my career and my family”. However, the article hints that the intelligence spat may have been sparked by differences between Ankara and Amsterdam over Turkey’s Kurdish minority and its nationalist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Founded in the 1970s, the PKK leads Kurdish secessionist aspirations for a Kurdish homeland incorporating parts of Turkey’s far-eastern Anatolia region, as well as parts of Iraq and Syria. According to De Volkskrant, in 2006 the AIVD stationed for the first time a liaison officer at the Dutch embassy in Ankara, whose mission was to collaborate with Turkey’s MİT intelligence service in collecting intelligence on Kurdish secessionist groups. However, the collaboration appears to have turned sour after Turkey accused the Dutch government of allowing many Kurdish activists, which it accuses of inciting terrorism, to claim political asylum in Holland. Moreover, Ankara has accused Dutch authorities of turning a blind eye to PKK recruiting and fundraising operations in Holland, organized by the sizeable Kurdish expatriate community in the country. According to the Turks, PKK front groups are able to openly operate on Dutch soil, despite Amsterdam’s official inclusion of the PKK on its list of active terrorist groups. In the past, Turkey has gone so far as to accuse Holland of directly financing the PKK through Dutch government-funded human rights groups operating in Turkey’s Anatolia region. Last year’s diplomatic expulsion highlights the worsening Dutch-Turkish relations, which reached an unprecedented low after last year’s elections, when Holland’s far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) became the country’s third largest. Prominent PVV leaders have strongly dismissed Turkey’s candidacy for European Union membership and have even questioned the rationale behind Turkey’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. De Volkskrant said that it tried to elicit responses to the expulsion story from the Dutch and Turkish governments, but that both refused to comment on it.