London, Monday, 31 October 2022
The Turkish president intends to send out a secret, specially trained squad connected to intelligence agency MIT to massively increase tensions with Greece, a NATO member and neighbour, after making repeated threats in recent months to invade Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
The MIT unit, a relatively new weapon in Turkey's intelligence agency's toolbox, will be used for the first time to set up a covert, military-style operation against a Western nation. Its existence has never been officially acknowledged.
A number of possibilities are presented in the plot, including sabotage on Greek islands close to the Turkish mainland, the hoisting of the Turkish flag on one or more uninhabited islets and rock formations, and the execution of a false flag operation to support a Turkish response.
Recep Tayyip Erdoan, the president of Turkey, is still deliberating over the options presented to him by his confidant, Hakan Fidan, the head of MIT, and has not yet made up his mind.
The Aegean Sea operation will be carried out by this special unit established within the intelligence agency with logistical backing from the Turkish military's aviation and naval forces, according to information gathered by Nordic Monitor from people aware with the plot.
The plot, which will be implemented some time close to the general election in 2023 to galvanise the country behind Erdoan and bring a windfall vote for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its nationalist allies, is kept strictly confidential within Erdoan and Fidan's close circle and will be put into motion on a need-to-know basis.
MIT's mandate had mostly been restricted to information collection operations to offer the finest intelligence to Turkish policymakers for decades because it lacked military-type operational capability.
MIT contacted a number of senior officers within the Special Forces Command (zel Kuvvetler Komutanl, KK) as well as KK retirees in 2013 to recruit for the Special Forces. Higher compensation more perks, and—most importantly—immunity from punishment if they were discovered were all offered to the candidates. The transfers were promoted by Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakall, the KK commander who developed strong links with MIT.
As part of a course formally known as "Unconventional Operations," MIT also began putting its own operatives through KK training, particularly for engaging in sabotage, raids, entrapment, destruction, infiltration, and false flag operations (Konvansiyonel Olmayan Harp, or KOH). The second-in-command of KK, Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi, was not pleased with MIT's shady operations, particularly in Syria and Iraq, and he vehemently condemned MIT's unlawful activities.
Now that the general election is approaching and voters are increasingly struggling financially, the same unit is prepared to attack Greek assets, not to achieve Turkey's strategic aims or address pressing national security concerns, but rather to support an ailing Erdoan. If and when that occurs, public discourse will shift away from everyday issues and toward the dispute with Greece. Erdogan expects to survive the crucial elections in the midst of this heightened nationalist excitement.
(Source: Nordic Monitor // Edit by: The Decision Maker – International Relations editors)