Classified documents with sensitive information, including on Cyprus, were leaked by high-level Turkish diplomats to an organized crime gang network in various cities in Turkey. With the help of diplomats, even the “profiles” of other officials were created, with their weaknesses and vices so that they could be blackmailed.
Members of the gang were charged with extortion and illegal possession of confidential government and military documents. According to information and documents released on Friday by the NGO Nordic Monitor, they were using the help of “professional escorts”, including some foreigners, offering cash or using espionage methods to obtain classified information from senior officers and bureaucrats. The team then sold or planned to sell the sensitive documents.
According to classified documents obtained by the group acquired and published by Nordic Monitor, Turkish diplomats, some of whom currently serve as ambassadors to foreign capitals, provided highly classified diplomatic reports and sensitive intelligence to cybercriminals and intelligence agents. In addition to personal secrets, information about their weaknesses, characteristics and professional networks, as well as comments from other diplomats on their privacy, were recorded and listed by the gang to blackmail these people.
An investigation by the Izmir Attorney General, launched in 2011, revealed members of the network, their criminal activities, and Turkish military, police and intelligence men close to them with illegal links to the gang. The diplomats who worked with the group also received indictments from the Attorney General. Today, most of the Turkish Foreign Ministry staff described in these lists continue to represent Turkey abroad, reports the Nordic Monitor.
The involvement of Cyprus – Greece
The gang members claimed that Turkish diplomat Tanju Bilgic provided them with five or six high-ranking documents on Cyprus, describing him as a divorced man who “was bored with women and needed a lot of attention”. Bilgic is today Turkey’s ambassador to Belgrade. Prior to taking up his post in Serbia, he served as a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2014 to 2016 and headed the Cyprus-Greece office between 2008 and 2011. When the prosecutor launched a criminal investigation into these allegations, Bilgic coordinated Greek-Turkish relations with full access to confidential correspondence.
At the same time, the Turkish ambassador to Libya, Serhat Aksen, handed over a document from the Foundation of the Greek Orthodox Church of Imbros to the criminal network. A document submitted by the Foundation to the foreign ministry was leaked to the group, which had ultra-nationalist sentiments.