ISTANBUL: Turkey is planning to split its spy service into separate units for foreign and domestic intelligence after the organisation was vehemently criticised for shortcomings over the failed coup, a report said Tuesday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been scathing about the failure of the National Intelligence Service (MIT) to warn him in a timely manner about the coup, complaining he found out when his brother-in-law called up.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus on Monday said a restructuring of Turkey’s intelligence operations was “on the agenda” after the coup, just as with the military.
According to the Hurriyet daily, the move will involve splitting the MIT so that foreign espionage and domestic counter-intelligence work are in the future handled by different entities.
This would bring Turkey in line with the system in Britain, where foreign intelligence is handled by MI6 and domestic intelligence by MI5.
It said domestic intelligence would largely be handled by the police and the gendarmerie, which — under separate reforms agreed after the coup — will in future report to the interior ministry and not the military.
In a major shake-up of the security services, the authorities have sought to reassert civilian influence and also emphasise the presidency’s control so a coup never happens again.
The foreign intelligence entity will report directly to the Turkish presidency, which will also have a unit in charge of coordination between the two sections, it added.
But this unit will not just conduct coordination but will also do its own intelligence analysis, the report said.
There has been huge pressure on the MIT’s powerful chief Hakan Fidan in the wake of the coup, particularly following reports he found out about the planned putsch hours before the government was informed.
However, so far he has kept his job.
“We are all mortal,” Kurtulmus said on Monday.
“Let’s create such a system that no-one can make a coup again. Let’s create such an intelligence system that gives Turkey the highest level of intelligence,” he said.