- Turkey has been spying on its citizens abroad.
- Turkey has been spying on people in the US and Canada.
- Critics of Erdogan were targeted for surveillance.
Nordic Monitor published classified information about surveillance operations by the Turkish intelligence services in the US and other nations around the globe. According to the documentation, the Turkish President has been authorizing intelligence operations to spy on critics of Turkey. The documentation seems to have a stamp from the Turkish government agency established in 2016 under the Turkish National Security Agenda.
The documents reveal that Turkish spies have been actively gathering information in the US and Canada. Outside of the documents provided, this reality has been noticeable for some time on the LinkedIn platform where individuals who had Turkish names and were pretending to be journalists joined groups pertaining to defense and security interests.
One specifically targeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Some used English names and pretended to be US nationals working in Ankara, Turkey and covertly posted and attacked posts that spoke negatively of Turkey. The posts subsided due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, Nordic Monitor claims that the intelligence gathered on the foes of the Turkey were sent to the Department for Combatting Crimes against National Security (Ulusal Güvenliğe Yönelik Suçlarla Mücadele Şube Müdürlüğü). The documents also have the names of the parties that were monitored around the world.
Some of the names on the documents are from Uzbekistan and other former Soviet Block countries. The names that are visible are clearly of Turkish origin.
Did Turkey use this information to threaten these people in Canada and US?
China utilizes the same tactics, but on a grander scale. The Chinese government uses other Chinese nationals abroad to spy on its citizens living in the West. Then they coerce them to spread Chinese propaganda or even commit espionage. If they are not willing to do it purely due to coercion methods, escalation involves threats towards their families still living in China. The threats can range from false arrests, to beatings and even death. On the mild side, it could include dropping their social rating in China that could mean not being able to take a bus, travel, or even send your child to a certain school. Neighbors are encouraged not to associate with such individuals.
It is clear Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will stop at nothing to stay in power, even with his failed Syrian operation and dwindling support numbers. The opposition is not pleased with the handling of the Syrian matter and Erdogan’s foreign policy overall. Many do not support any type of military operations. At the same time Turkey partially added the S-400 Russian made system to their defense arsenal.
The S-400 Triumph, previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007.
The time has come perhaps to have Turkey removed from NATO.