Monday, December 8, 2008

Talking State Security After Ergenekon

From TDZ:
The current undersecretary, Emre Taner, is famed for his efforts to "get his house in order" and reform the organization.

A former senior Turkish intelligence official has warned against weaknesses in Turkey’s intelligence-gathering mechanisms, suggesting that an intelligence coordination unit should be established under the Prime Ministry.

“There has been a lack of will for ensuring coordinated intelligence gathering in Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should address this problem. Due to the absence of coordination, Turkish institutions in charge of gathering intelligence are jealous of each other. Thus, they refrain from sharing information that they have been gathering among themselves,” said Ertuğrul Güven, former deputy undersecretary of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman.

Güven’s remarks come at a time when the MİT has been linked to an alleged member of the Ergenekon terror organization. Eighty-six defendants are facing trial for suspected membership in Ergenekon, a criminal network that is believed to have been plotting to overthrow the government.

Tuncay Güney, who currently resides in Canada as a rabbi, was captured by police in Turkey in 2001 on suspicions of gang membership. What he told the police at that time has helped prosecutors expose the activities of Ergenekon.

According to an MİT document published by the Sabah daily last month, Güney purposefully infiltrated Ergenekon and JİTEM, an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, to gather information for the intelligence organization.

In a press release, the MİT confirmed the authenticity of the document, but denied that Güney, a former journalist whose name has featured prominently in the Ergenekon trial, was an agent employed by the organization.

“As far as I can remember, Güney was not an MİT agent,” Güven said.

The MİT counterterrorism unit, together with the problems it had created, was taken out of the MİT organizational chart in 1997, the same press release explained. Mehmet Eymür, a former MİT official who was implicated in a number of intelligence scandals, was the head of this unit.

However, Güven declined to speak about the details of the Güney incident or Eymür.

. . . .

Güven has also warned against assigning nationwide intelligence gathering duties to the police under a plan to create a new counterterrorism unit under the Interior Ministry.

"Internal security issues cannot directly be affiliated to the Security General Directorate, otherwise there will be problems. For example, there is an organization in Germany to protect the constitution. This is directly affiliated with an undersecretary at the German Interior Ministry. Similarly, the German police are also affiliated with this undersecretary. The security directorate can have its internal intelligence gathering mechanism, but cannot have nationwide intelligence-gathering duties. There needs to be a mechanism of control over the intelligence-gathering organizations," Güven said.
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