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01:47, 02 September 2014 Tuesday

Erdogan vows to confront NSA spying on Turkey

Erdogan vows to confront NSA spying on Turkey

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will discuss the issue of spying claims on Turjey with American and German leaders at the upcoming NATO summit and U.N. general assembly.



Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has broken his silence on revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has long spied on Turkey through two secret intelligence stations established in Istanbul and Ankara.

On Sunday German weekly Der Spiegel has claimed recent examination of the documents provided in 2013 by Edward Snowden, a former employee of the agency, revealed that NATO ally Turkey was not only a partner but also the target of a major intelligence offensive launched the U.S. spy organization.

Regarding the reports, President Erdogan said that Turkey would soon be meeting with the leaders concerned with the latest scandal, namely those of the U.S. and Germany.

"It is important to know what they have done and how regarding this matter," Erdogan said, adding that he will discuss the issue with American and German leaders at the upcoming NATO summit and U.N. general assembly.

Turkey's foreign ministry summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires, currently Washington's most senior diplomat in Ankara, on Monday over the allegations, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.

The agency - known by the initials NSA - and Turkish intelligence services had engaged in close cooperation in fight against terrorism and regional security threats for decades but the U.S. agency had also targeted Turkish political leadership, military, and intelligence and energy companies, according to the weekly.

NSA has established two secret listening and digital surveillance stations named “Special Collection Service” both in Istanbul and in the capital city of Ankara.

A top-secret document, dated April 2013, showed that the NSA was instructed by the US administration to collect intelligence targeting Turkey under 19 main themes which included "leadership intentions," Turkish Armed Forces, foreign policy goals and energy security.

NSA’s top-secret “National Intelligence Priorities Framework” document listed Turkey as one of the most frequently targeted countries in the surveillance operations, Der Spiegel claimed. In this group, NATO ally Turkey was among other countries like Venezuela and Cuba.

According to the German weekly, in its intelligence activities targeting Turkey NSA had been in close cooperation with the British secret service Government Communications Headquarters and also shared obtained intelligence with its British counterpart.

“Germany's foreign intelligence service, which drew criticism in recent weeks after it was revealed it had been spying on Turkey, isn't the only secret service interested in keeping tabs on the government in Ankara,” Der Spiegel commented Sunday.

The German weekly reported on August 16 that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND had been spying on Turkey since 2009, prompting Ankara’s strong condemnation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declined to comment on the claims but also refrained from an official denial.

Merkel had also been targeted by the NSA’s surveillance according to the information secured last year by Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s revealations showed that NSA had bugged the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel among other world leaders.

Last October, Merkel criticized the U.S.' spying program, saying that “spying on friends is not acceptable."

 



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