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12/06/2023

Israel’s wiretapping in Southern Cyprus

Israel’s wiretapping in Southern Cyprus

By Fikret Akfırat

The ongoing war in Gaza has shown once again: Behind every evil in West Asia is the deep cooperation of the US, the UK and Israel. In Cyprus, the South Caucasus, Libya, Syria, Iran and Iraq, Türkiye’s supposed allies US and UK are working close together with Israel to enlarge the factors against Türkiye’s interests. This tripartite partnership aims to neutralize Türkiye in the region. Moreover, Israel survives thanks to this co-operation. What Türkiye is doing in the face that, despite all the official harsh rhetoric of the Turkish authorities, nothing but helping Israel to sustain leverage through economic/commercial relations. What is more serious is that Turkish territory is being used for this purpose and NATO is at the center of this activity.

The latest example of this was the transfer of military vehicles, weapons, equipment and ammunition from the Incirlik Base in Adana-Türkiye to the British base in Southern Cyprus by US aircraft, from where they were to be delivered to Israel. The government officials tried to gloss over the allegations we raised on 19 November with superficial explanations.

The key role of Southern Cyprus

Southern Cyprus has a key role in defense, security and intelligence cooperation between the US, the UK and Israel. There are lands belonging to the UK in Southern Cyprus since 1960. Two British bases operate in Agratur and Dikelya. These bases also function as a center for US operations in West Asia and North Africa. With these bases and the wiretapping facilities around them, all kinds of military and civilian activities in West Asia, including Türkiye, are monitored simultaneously. The intelligence facilities in the Greek populated southern part of Cyprus operate under the auspices of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s intelligence agency responsible for signals intelligence. In southern Cyprus there is a secret wiretapping base on the Gata promontory near the Agratur base west of Limassol, as well as a huge wiretapping facility at Ayios Nikolaos Station in the Mercury Barracks at the Dikelya base at the foot of Famagusta in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In addition, the British radar base on the summit of the Troodos mountain in Southern Cyprus is considered by American intelligence officials to be “a priceless jewel providing unparalleled access to the Levant, North Africa and Türkiye” (Intercept, 28 January 2016).

The agreements between the US, the UK and Israel

The UK also shares the intelligence it obtains from these regions with Israel. There are many bilateral agreements between the UK and Israel in the fields of defense, security and intelligence. A very comprehensive agreement for 7 years long, “Israel-UK Bilateral Relations 2030 Roadmap”, was signed during the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to London on 21 March 2023. The agreement covers a wide range of cooperation between the two countries, including security, trade, technology and cyberspace. In November 2021, the two countries had signed another agreement “to work more closely in diplomacy, defense and security, cyber, science, technology and many other areas” (Security Week, 14 March 2022), and on 3 December 2020 another one, “an agreement to formalize and enhance defense cooperation and strengthen the growing Israel-UK partnership” according to the UK-Israel Centre for Communication and Research. (bicom.org.uk, 7 December 2020)

Similarly, there are many agreements between the US and Israel on intelligence sharing. It is known that US intelligence agencies share raw and processed intelligence in the Middle East with Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. The latest example of such agreements was the cyber cooperation agreement signed on 2 March 2022 between the US Homeland Security and the Israeli National Cyber Directorate. Another example in the NSA documents released by former NSA employee Edward Snowden was a memorandum of understanding signed in 2009. It is stated that the memorandum of understanding was agreed in principle in March 2009. According to this memorandum, the sides agreed to share the raw e-mail, telephone and all kinds of electronic communication and data, including that of US citizens, obtained by the NSA. (Guardian, 11 September 2013).

Threat to the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

South Cyprus’ key role in the cooperation between the US, the UK and Israel poses a serious threat to the Turkish military presence in Cyprus and the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Ankara’ consent to that the US and the UK disregard Türkiye’s sovereignty does nothing but aggravate the threats to Türkiye.

United World International

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