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Turkey arrests 14-member network plotting to kidnap Iranian opposition figures

Turkish intelligence and security authorities revealed a 14-member network cooperating with Iranian intelligence services to abduct members of the Iranian opposition on Turkish soil.

On Friday, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) uncovered another Iranian-led plot to assassinate an Israeli-Turkish businessman using a network of suspected hitmen.

Yair Geller, an Istanbul-based tycoon with investments in the machinery and defense industries, was the target of the network of nine people tracking his every move.

According to the Anadolou agency, the MIT arrested two Iranian nationals and 12 Turks who were referred to the prosecution.

Arrest warrants have been issued for three fugitive Iranians.

Turkey’s official Anadolou news agency on Friday relayed reports from Turkish intelligence that an Iranian national among the detainees, named Morteza Soltan-Sanjari, had worked for Ihsan Saglam, a Turkish national who owns the defense company By Saglam. .

The report alleged that one of the Iranian intelligence officers had offered $1 million to Soltan-Sanjari and Saglam for the capture of “MR”, an Iranian naval officer who had deserted. Hakan Saglam, another member of the alleged plot, had located MR and promised to smuggle him to the United States.

But the report also says the 14 kidnappers were paid $150,000 for each operation. He named Yaghoub Hafez, an Iranian colonel, as someone who successfully returned to Tehran.

Anadolou alleged that Ihsan Saglam tortured the person who then smuggled Hafez out of Turkey to force them to locate the colonel in Denizli province in western Turkey. Hafez was informed that he was wanted by Iran, that he could be smuggled through Iraq to a “safe country”, but was then brought back in February 2019 to Iran.

The cell’s discovery came hours after it was revealed that Turkish authorities had successfully arrested members of a nine-piece Iranian cell that had planned to assassinate Geller.

The planned hit was meant to be retaliation for the 2020 killing of Iranian nuclear chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, widely attributed to Israel’s Mossad, according to reports, as well as a way to hamper warming relations between Ankara and Jerusalem.