The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, the author of the article, stated that Israel used to operate part of its Iranian spy network from Turkish territory which allowed Ankara to operate the ring's movements accordingly. Erdogan had also reportedly disclosed the identities of ten Iranians who went to Turkey to meet with Israeli spies.
The Iran-Israel relationship has been one marked with spy accusations and nuclear debates for decades, with the Islamic Republic long accusing Israel of killing its nuclear scientists.
It is noted in the report that US officials have previously stated that Israel believed the Turks to be loyal allies after years of cooperation, but the death of nine Turkish activists at the hands of Israelis during the 2010 Gaza strip naval blockade have put the Turkish-Israeli relationship "on the rocks."
Almost immediately after the 2010 blockade, the former Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak expressed concern publicly regarding Turkey's role in sharing Israeli intelligence secrets with Iran. Less than two years later in April 2012, Iran announced it had broken up an Israeli spy ring and arrested fifteen suspects. It is not yet clear though if this is the case linked to the Washington Post report.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin and Energy Minister Silvan Shalom both declined to comment in response to the Washington Post report, but Elkin did note that Israel's relationship with Turkey was "very complex." Shalom had also previously commented on the Jewish state's relationship with Turkey, suggesting that Ankara had "chose the convenient anti-Israeli card in order to build up leadership [in the Middle East]," according to an Israel Radio interview mentioned in the Reuters report.
No additional comments from either country were forthcoming at the time of the article's release.
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