Turkish intelligence, MIT headquarters. FILE PHOTO

Turkish intelligence, MIT headquarters

Turkish Media Says 17 Kidnappers Linked To Iranian Intelligence Arrested

Thursday, 02/10/2022

Turkish media reported Wednesday that the country’s intelligence had arrested 17 people allegedly linked to Iranian intelligence who were planning a kidnap.

OdaTV, the online news portal, broke the news with a figure of 11. TR Haber news website later said 17 had been detained in simultaneous operations on January 30. Turkish authorities have not made any official announcement, but have sweeping powers for detention under Turkey’s ‘anti-terrorism’ laws.

OdaTV alleged that the kidnappers included a Turkish state prosecutor, the owner of a defense company, a retired Turkish army colonel, and several non-commissioned officers. It claimed the target of the kidnappers was ‘Shah Nem,’ apparently an alias, who was wanted by Iran’s intelligence and lived in Zonguldak, a city in Turkey’s Black Sea region. The news portal alleged the ‘mastermind’ was Ali Ghahraman-Hajiabad, an Iranian intelligence agent who returned to Iran after organizing the team.

OdaTV also named an Iranian national, Morteza Soltan-Sanjali, as a “key link” in the operation and said he worked for By Saglam, a Turkish defense company, in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina.According to OdaTV, Soltan-Sanjali travelled to Zonguldak to find the intended victim, realized for some reason the operation had to be cancelled, and was then arrested by intelligence agents when attempting to reach Istanbul.

Soltan-Sanjali had supposedly recruited the kidnappers from retired Turkish and non-commissioned officers. Davut Yilmaz, who worked at the Kartal Anatolian Courthouse, was to use his judicial connections if anything went wrong.

Amid its growing use of extra-judicial powers in the face of criticism from rights groups and the European Union, Turkey has arrested dozens of Iranian and Turkish nationals in the past few years over alleged plots to kidnap or assassinate Iranian dissidents.

In 2021, Turkey released Mohammad Reza Naserzadeh, whom its intelligence agents had arrested in connection with the killing of Masoud Molavi-Vardanjani, a former Iranian defense official, in Istanbul in 2019.Turkey’s Daily Sabah had alleged that Naserzadeh, whom it said was a diplomat working in the consulate’s civic registry, had forged travel documents for Ali Esfanjani, the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the killing.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh denied reports at the time of Naserzadeh’s arrest early in 2021 that he was an embassy employee, although Turkey's official Anadolou (Anatolia) news agency subsequently published footage of Naserzadeh's arrest at Istanbul airport showing his Iranian service passport.

Turkish government’s official TRT channel reported in 2020 that the its intelligence service MIT had unearthed a network tied to Iran’s intelligence ministry working to abduct or assassinate Iranian dissidents, and that the network had lured Farajollah Chaab, an Arab separatist leader, to Turkey, and then rendered him to Iran, where he is currently on trial.

This week, Turkish media also reported that 16 people including Palestinians and Syrian nationals arrested last October would be put on trial in Istanbul for "political and military" espionage for Israel, while a Danish court this week convicted three members of a Saudi-backed Arab separatist group committed to ‘terrorism’ in Iran.

24 with Fardad
24 with Fardad
24 with Fardad

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