Turkey has revealed a United Arab Emirates (UAE) spy network that has been operating all over the country. The proof, which was revealed through security forces investigating the case, demonstrated that the link with the network also had support from the CIA in their operations. The leader of the spies who were captured in April was identified by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), revealing the details of the network. Disclosed only by his initials, H.E.R. was one of the key figures in the spy chain who was also determined to be the leader of two others who were detained.
The network was revealed through the arrest of two other UAE spies, Samir Semih Shaban and Zaki Y.M. Hasan, by the MİT in April this year. The pair allegedly came to Istanbul with the aim of detecting and gathering information on UAE adversaries after the controversial murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Following their testimonies, the spy network and their connection with the CIA is gradually being uncovered.
Shaban and Hasan, who laid the foundations of the UAE's intelligence network in Turkey and started their activities after Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi Consulate, were followed by MIT for six months before their arrests.
During the process of uncovering their network, it was determined that the spies allegedly had connections with Muhammed Dahlan, the former security chief for the Palestinian Authority (PA) who is also known as the "hitman" of the Middle East. Dahlan was the main mediator between the UAE government and an assassination squad in Yemen.
Reportedly, Turkish intelligence had learned that the UAE, in cooperation with Israel, was going to try and destabilize Turkey, Iran and Qatar. They believe that Dahlan, who maintains contact with recently established outlets in Turkey, serves this cause by channeling funds into certain media organizations.
Also, the investigation indicates that Hasan, Shaban's aid in Turkey and another key name of Dahlan's spy network, committed suicide in the Silivri prison in April following his arrest in Istanbul.
On the other side, officials believe H.E.R. left Turkey after staying in the country with a fake ID.
After technical and physical tracking, significant information was unveiled regarding their purposes, connections and backgrounds. One of the two spies, Shaban, admitted his connection to Dahlan during an interrogation after evidence was put before him.
Shaban was allegedly notorious for his activities against Turkey and worked for Dahlan for a period of time. Yet, he denied any accusations asserting that he carried out activities against Turkey.
"After I came to Turkey and retired, I did not get involved in such activities. I did not do anything that could have harmed Turkey. I am ready to serve Turkey wherever I can help," Shaban stated, claiming that he was not connected to spying activities even with his questionable background.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, was reported missing by his fiancee Hatice Cengiz after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage documents on Oct. 2. On the same day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, many of them Saudi intelligence operatives, arrived in Istanbul and visited the consulate. Shaban was born in Lebanon in 1979 and is the son of a family that moved to Lebanon from Palestine. He received bomb training by CIA agents and worked in the Palestinian Consulate in Dubai between the years 2009 and 2017.
During his stay there, he had allegedly close links to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. After this, he started to get involved in Dahlan's terrorist cell and was known to have engaged in activities against Turkey.
Phone conversations with Hasan, who stored under the code name Ebu Yusuf, and with an intelligence agent in Dubai, Gassam Ebu Sultan, were also detected on Shaban's cell phone. In one of these conversations Shaban said, "If I was working for the intelligence and were to sell fake information, I would be rich like many people."
Upon being asked about this dubious sentence by security officials, he claimed that he could have sold information to intelligence services but did not.
As the report states, Shaban and Hasan's main aim was to follow adherents of the Palestinian groups Hamas and of the Al Fatah movement, in other words, the adversaries of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They were also gathering information on the Muslim Brotherhood structuring in Istanbul.
UAE ALSO SUPPORTED FETÖ IN PAST
The Khashoggi murder is not the only case that the UAE grasped a hostile attitude against Turkey and tried to plot against the country. Shortly after the July 15 coup attempt carried out by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), David Hearst of the Middle East Eye claimed the owner of the Al-Ghad TV Channel, Dahlan, had transferred money to the terrorist group for the attempted coup.
According to a piece written by Hearst in the Middle East Eye on July 29, 2016, Dahlan allegedly transferred money to FETÖ putschists in the weeks before the coup attempt and even communicated with Fetullah Gülen through a person close to him. On the night of the coup attempt, UAE media reported that the Gülenists were in fact successful. The July 15 coup attempt was thwarted in the early hours of July 16 after Gülenist putschists fired on civilians, killing 249 innocent people, bombed Turkish Parliament, and raided the house where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was staying that night.
In 2017, President Erdoğan had said that Ankara knew which Gulf countries were happy with the coup attempt.
"We know very well who was happy in the Gulf when there was a coup attempt in Turkey. We have an intelligence agency if some have it. We know very well who spent that night and how," he said.
The president also stressed that Turkey has knowledge of how some countries have spent money in this regard.
In addition, some emails allegedly stolen from the inbox of Yousef Al-Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to the U.S., revealed that the UAE might have been involved in the July 15 coup attempt.