Seventy-eight-year-old Enver Altaylı, a former intelligence officer at Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and advisor to former Turkish prime ministers Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel, was arrested in 2017 for alleged membership in the Gülen movement, a group critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was handed down a prison sentence of 23 years, four months on spying and terrorism charges last November.
Altaylı this week shared messages on Twitter through his lawyer, claiming that Russia is the main reason for his imprisonment.
Altaylı states that he is the only person in Turkey held in prison by Turkish courts for taking a stance against the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), which was formerly known as the KGB.
He adds that the defamation and negative publications about him, especially in pro-government publications, should be evaluated within the framework of that information.
Altaylı, who writes he had worked all his life to strengthen Turkey’s sovereignty and security, claimed that he was accused and punished for being a US spy and traitor because of these views. According to Altaylı, forces and individuals close to Russia in Turkey tried to silence him by throwing him in prison.
He argues that the reason for being targeted was that he was one of the few people who could accurately explain the Russian threat to Turkish state officials and the steps that needed to be taken.
Altaylı also states that he told state officials the biggest threat to Turkey could be a Russia with imperial goals and that he argued Turkey should make its security, energy and foreign policy decisions accordingly.
Altaylı attributes the accusatory attitude of the Turkish public towards the West and NATO during the Russian-Ukrainian war to intelligence activities.
According to Altaylı every year serious funding is allocated to Russian intelligence to create a pro-Russian public opinion in other countries of the world.
“Within the scope of this fund, many journalists are paid for their propaganda in favor of Russia no matter what,” he adds.
“You may have read that according to recent surveys, almost half the Turkish public thinks Russia is not responsible for the bloodshed in Ukraine. This situation proves one thing: This Russian intelligence fund is managed very successfully in Turkey. Whoever administers the Turkish part of this fund should be given a medal by Russia!” he writes.
Indeed, according to a survey conducted by the Ankara-based Metropoll company, which Altaylı mentions, more than 48 percent of Turks hold the United States and NATO, of which Turkey has been a member since 1952, responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while only 34 percent think Russia is responsible for it.
When participants were asked, “Who do you hold responsible for the invasion of Ukraine?” 48.3 percent said they hold the US and NATO responsible, while 33.7 percent said it was Russia and 7.5 percent said it was Ukraine that was responsible for the Russian invasion of itself, which began on Feb. 24, sparking international condemnation and sanctions against Russia.
Nordic Monitor previously published an intelligence report issued by the FSB that was found on Altaylı’s phone revealing Russian plans and strategies after the downing of one of its warplanes by Turkey in 2015. According to the report, in addition to a number of political and military suggestions for the authorities, Russian intelligence decided to follow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members more closely.
Russian intelligence report in both Turkish and Russian as it appeared in the court file:Sirotkin-kalan-yerler-1
Stating at a September 2021 hearing in his trial that he had met with then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s chief advisor Feridun Bilgin at the time to deliver the report to Davutoğlu, Altaylı claimed he could not be accused of espionage and that such a trial could only be held by Russian Federation prosecutors. Speaking to Independent Turkish, Bilgin confirmed that he had received the report allegedly prepared by senior FSB executives.
Altaylı also stated that the Russian intelligence report on his phone was included in the indictment as if it were his own report and that he was accused of having devised the plans in the report himself, claiming the report was put in the judicial file and deciphered by the prosecution and that that was a crime. He also said that by disclosing the report, the Russians were informed of secret information in the hands of the Turkish state.
“The prosecution that is accusing me of espionage is actually sharing secret state information with the Russians,” he added.
The report, which was drafted by Igor Gennadyevich Sirotkin, deputy director of the FSB, on December 8, 2015, two weeks after the downing of the Russian warplane on the Turkish-Syrian border, suggested a comprehensive series of military and political steps to be taken against Turkey. A variety of suggestions were offered, from putting the Turkish army in a difficult situation in Syria and ensuring a new refugee influx to Turkey to Russian agents in Turkish institutions engaging in disinformation activities. The intelligence report, which was submitted to FSB Director Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikovwhich, also included recommendations that would put Erdoğan’s ruling party in a difficult situation with the Turkish public and dedicated a section to members of the Erdoğan family who were accused of engaging in the oil trade with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Dilara Yılmaz, the daughter and lawyer for Altaylı, said last month that her father had been held in solitary confinement for 55 months because he was considered a “dangerous inmate,” adding the prison conditions endured by her father are getting worse.
“It is not possible to explain this discrimination against a 78-year-old person with reason or conscience,” she said.