Report: Turkey seeks US secretive spy network help in capturing PKK leaders

19 September 2011 Monday

The Sabah daily in a story published on Monday claimed Ankara had asked to use the services of this controversial spy network.

Turkey has reportedly asked to use the US-operated ECHELON — a secretive and officially nonexistent spy network — to help capture 120 of the most influential Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants higher up in the organization’s hierarchy in return for the deployment of an early warning radar on Turkish soil as part of a NATO missile defense system.

ECHELON is the codename given to a system that can eavesdrop on global satellite and phone communications as well as computers. The system was created by the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in a secret treaty signed in 1943. Although its existence has been officially denied, a report in 2001 by the European Parliament, which investigated ECHELON’s activities on suspicion that it might be tapping into phones in Europe to steal industrial and commercial data, attested to its existence. There has also been other evidence about ECHELON’s existence in addition to the EP report.

The Sabah daily in a story published on Monday claimed Ankara had asked to use the services of this controversial spy network.

The paper said the system, operated by the US National Security Agency (NSA), has four ground stations in the Middle East. It also claimed that it was this system that helped to capture PKK leader Abdullah Ă–calan in Nairobi in 1999. The 2001 EP report listed a number of suspected ground stations, but none of them were in the Middle East.

 

Cihan