Turkey uncovers CIA-backed Emirati spy ring - Daily Sabah

Turkey has exposed a CIA-backed United Arab Emirates (UAE) spy network in the country following the testimonies of two Palestinians arrested in April, pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper said on Wednesday. 

Samir Semih Shaban and Zaki Y.M. Hasan (Zaki Mubarak) were detained in April in relation to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Some 10 days later, Turkish authorities said a prison guard had found Hasan hanging from the door of his cell. 

According to Daily Sabah, Shaban and Hasan laid the foundations of the UAE's intelligence network in Turkey and had connections with Muhammed Dahlan, former security chief for the Palestinian Authority (PA) who was the main mediator between the UAE government and an assassination squad in Yemen.

In June, Hasan’s family, including his six children and former wife in Gaza, rejected Turkey’s version of the story and called for an international investigation.

“Reportedly, Turkish intelligence had learned that the UAE, in cooperation with Israel, was going to try and destabilise Turkey, Iran and Qatar. They believe that Dahlan, who maintains contact with recently established outlets in Turkey, serves this cause by channeling funds into certain media organisations,” Daily Sabah said.

Shaban, admitted his connection to Dahlan during an interrogation but denied the accusations that he carried out activities against Turkey, the newspaper said. 

The pro-government daily said Shaban and Hasan's main aim had been to follow members of the Palestinian groups Hamas and of the Al Fatah movement, which it called the adversaries of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “They were also gathering information on the Muslim Brotherhood structuring in Istanbul,” it said. 

Relations between Turkey and the UAE have strained since mid-2017, after Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE placed Qatar under a blockade. The UAE is uncomfortable with Turkey’s support to Qatar and groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.