Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 6 praised the role of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), saying the organization has been showing great effort in missions around the globe, in Syria, Iraq and more recently in Libya.
“Intelligence data are indispensable for a nation’s prosperity, not only in wartimes but also during times of peace.
Amid the critical days our country and the world have been going through, the support of MİT prevails more than ever,” Erdoğan said.
The president’s remarks came during the opening ceremony of a new high-technology facility of MİT in the capital Ankara. The new headquarters of MİT, dubbed “Kale” in Turkish, meaning “Fortress” in English, is designed specifically to prevent audio surveillance and infiltration. Some three-meter-long walls and barbed wires surround the 5,000-decare facility.
Stressing the role of MİT in worldwide missions, Erdoğan said the organization has shown great success and took active role in Syria, Iraq and more recently Libya.
“We are going through a period in which the world is being restructured. The threats we face increase,” Erdoğan said adding that the most significant threat Turkey faces is terrorism.
Terrorist organizations such as the PKK/YPG, ISIL, and FETÖ have “waged war” against Turkey and MİT has played a crucial role in the fight against these, according to Erdoğan.
“Especially, since the very first day of the Syrian crisis, [MİT] has played an active role in the field and has made great efforts in the success of our cross-border operations,” he added.
MİT is now regarded as a powerful and respected international organization and many countries praise its activities, Erdoğan said.
“In the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, [MİT] has prevented the spread of this blood upon us and made Turkey’s weight being felt by untying every knot,” he said.
More covert operations
The president also conveyed that MİT increased its covert operations with more efficiency in technical and cyber intelligence in international missions.
He also added that MİT will share the data it gathered for the detection of spies and terrorists to the Turkish Armed Forces, the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish National Police in a bid to increase coordination.
In order to build this into a mechanism, a National Intelligence Coordination Board has been established, the president conveyed.
Erdoğan added that MİT will shift its focus on foreign missions rather than local ones.
The president also said that these missions of MİT are currently continuing in Libya. “I wholeheartedly believe that [MİT] will continue to defend the interests of our state and nation.”
Turkish army units moving to Libya
Erdoğan, during a televised interview on Jan. 6, said that Turkish military units had started moving to Libya to support Fayez al-Sarraj’s U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli.
Turkey’s parliament approved a bill on Jan. 2 that allows for the deployment of troops in Libya to protect Ankara’s interests in North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea and to help achieve peace and stability in Libya.
“There will be an operation center [in Libya], there will be a Turkish lieutenant general leading and they will be managing the situation over there. [Turkish soldiers] are gradually moving there right now,” Erdoğan said.
“The goal of the Turkish Armed Forces is not to fight, but to ensure cease-fire in Libya,” he added.
The GNA last month requested Turkish support as it fends off an offensive by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, which are backed by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
On Jan. 4, at least 30 people were killed and 33 others wounded in an attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital.
Turkey condemned the attack and called for international steps to achieve a cease-fire.
Hurriyet Daily News