Turkey Summons Top U.S. Diplomat Over Spying Allegations

Documents provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveal Turkey was a high-priority target for U.S. and British intelligence services.

Turkey's new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Cyprus on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.
Turkey's new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Cyprus on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.Credit: AP

The Turkish foreign ministry has summoned the most senior U.S. diplomat in the country for clarification of a report about American and British spying in Turkey.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç said the U.S. charge d'affaires and Turkish officials had discussed the report Monday. German magazine Der Spiegel and online magazine The Intercept said that documents provided by former U.S. National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden show that Turkey was a high-priority intelligence target for U.S. and British intelligence services.

According to Turkish news wires, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan downplayed the importance of the report, saying that all major countries spied on each other.

Last month, Focus magazine reported that Germany's main intelligence agency had also targeted Ankara.

According to the report, the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under then Social Democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step.

The magazine also cited government sources as saying the BND's current mandate to monitor Turkish political and state institutions had been agreed by a government working group. That included representatives of the chancellor's office, the defense, foreign and economy ministries.

Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian, June 6, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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