Secret wiretaps obtained by Nordic Monitor have revealed that a former lawmaker connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force played a role in the promotion and assignment of agents working for Turkish intelligence agency MIT.
According to recorded phone conversations that were intercepted by Turkish police investigators on July 8, 2013, a Turkish intelligence agency employee named Yasin Ünal called Faruk Koca, a former member of parliament who was the subject of a counterterrorism probe at the time, to lobby for his assignment within the spy agency.
Koca had been tagged as a suspect by Turkish prosecutors who had uncovered his links to IRGC Quds Force Gen. Sayed Ali Akber Mir Vakili. Prosecutors obtained warrants to wiretap Koca’s phone to map out his associates and expose further suspects as part of the terror investigation into Quds Force operations in Turkey.
On the phone Ünal introduced himself as a MIT agent assigned to work in intelligence operations in the southern province of Adana and said he was recently reassigned to the northeastern province of Kars. Apparently unhappy with the new assignment, Ünal wanted to halt the reassignment and reached out to Koca to make that happen.
Secret wiretap between Faruk Koca and MIT agent Yasin Ünal :Yasin_Unal_Faruk_Koca_wiretap
Dozens of Koca’s phone conversations, all recorded and incorporated into the criminal investigation, show that he had been working closely with MIT chief Hakan Fidan and other senior agents, in particular arranging secret meetings of MIT agents including Fidan himself with his IRGC contacts and assets.
Ünal knew Koca’s influence within the agency leadership and reached out to him to help him with his career path.
On the same day Ünal called Koca again to inform him that he had prepared a dossier for him and asked if he should bring it to him. Koca said he would come by to pick it up. The conversation did not specify the content of the dossier.
Wiretap that shows intelligence officer Yasin Ünal prepared a dossier for Faruk Koca:Yasin_Unal_Faruk_Koca_wiretap2
Koca was one of the founders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He admires Iran’s mullah regime and even named his son Khomeini. He was also the landlord of a house Erdoğan rented in the early 2000s in Ankara. A bug was later found there.
He had become wealthy under the Erdoğan government and apparently kept in close contact with Quds Force general Mir Vekili. He owns multiple businesses and serves as chairman of the Ankaragücü football club.
In 2013 Turkish investigators found that the S’LO Cafe, a prestigious coffeehouse and restaurant in Ankara’s Çukurambar district, which was owned by Koca at the time and patronized by the new elite in Ankara, was a venue for secret meetings. The investigation discovered that the top floor of the S’LO Cafe was reserved for special guests including Quds Force general Mir Vakili and that Fidan had Turkish intelligence secure the location against possible eavesdropping.
After his appointment by Erdoğan to lead the Turkish intelligence agency in 2010, Fidan redesigned MIT leadership and created special departments staffed by Islamists and pro-Iranian figures. Turkish police also uncovered a CV of Fidan secretly prepared by Mir Vakili’s Turkish asset and forwarded to IRGC Quds Force headquarters in Tehran. Fidan’s profile described the Turkish intelligence chief as a pro-Iran, anti-Israel and anti-US figure, not surprising given the fact that Fidan was groomed in Shiite study circles he had attended when he was a noncommissioned officer in the army.
The IRGC Quds Force case in Turkey never went to trial because the Erdoğan government squelched it in February 2014 after learning about the probe, which clearly incriminated senior government officials. The investigating prosecutor was sacked before he had a chance to obtain detention warrants for the suspects or file an indictment. Koca, Mir Vakili and many other Iranian and Turkish suspects avoided the long arm of the law thanks to the intervention of Erdoğan, who apparently protected pro-Iranian assets and helped IRGC Quds Force handlers escape from Turkey.
In 2014 Fidan also started to purge agents he didn’t trust when he was revamping the entire organization along ideological and partisan lines according to what Erdoğan wanted. Almost 7 percent of the intelligence officers from MIT have been purged and/or jailed since then.
According to a secret document obtained by Nordic Monitor and reported previously, 558 MIT employees have been dismissed from the spy agency. Of these, 181 were fired immediately after major corruption investigations in December 2013 that exposed how Erdoğan had done business with Iranian sanctions buster Reza Zarrab, indicted in the US, and Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, then listed as an al-Qaeda financier by the UN and the US, in exchange for kickbacks.