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Iran Denounces ‘Ridiculous Zionist Accusations’ of Plot to Kill Israelis In Turkey

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As is by now well known, Mossad and the Turkish security services have been working diligently together in recent weeks, and have managed both to foil several plots by Iranians to kill Israelis in Istanbul, and to capture at least ten of the plotters, both Iranians and Turks. This operation led Foreign Minister Lapid to travel to Ankara, where he met with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in order to personally express the gratitude of the government and the people of Israel to Turkey. This received major play in the Turkish media, which basked in that gratitude, and consequently, in its coverage of the plot, palpably warmed toward Israel. That has not always been the case.

The Turks were furious with Iran for two reasons. First, there was anger at the Iranians who infringed on Turkey’s sovereignty, with the murderous plot they planned to carry out on Turkish soil. Second, had the Iranians succeeded, and managed to kill a few Israelis, this would have caused a catastrophic drop in the numbers of Israeli tourists. Turkey is the no. 1 destination for Israelis; in that tourism’s best year, 850,000 Israelis visited Turkey. After such an attack, hundreds of thousands of potential Israeli visitors would undoubtedly have stayed away, and not just because they were instructed to do so by their government. That would have resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenues for the Turkish economy, with hotels, resorts, restaurants, cafés, tour guides, transportation all being affected.

Turkish and Israeli security officials have been brought closer together by a shared mission – to foil the plots of Iranian terrorists using Turkey as their theatre of operations. Iran has failed utterly in its plotting, looking ridiculous before the world, even more so because their failure will naturally be compared with the many successful feats of derring-do Mossad has carried out inside Iran. Furthermore, there is the upcoming death of a thousand cuts to Iran’s image, as the Islamic Republic will have to endure the public trial of its agents in an Istanbul court.

A report on Iran’s latest folly – and its denunciation of the plot as “ridiculous Zionist accusations”— is here: “Iran slams ‘ridiculous Zionist accusation’ of terror cell in Turkey,” by Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2022:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed “baseless” reports it tried to target Israelis in Turkey as it accused Jerusalem of attempting to harm its ties with Ankara.

It was Iran’s plan to carry out a plot on Turkey’s soil that has “harmed its ties with Ankara.” It was Iran’s indifference to the obvious consequence of such a plot, that if successful would have cost Turkey’s economy billions of dollars, that has “harmed its ties with Ankara.” And now we have the Iranian dismissal of the plot as “ridiculous Zionist accusations” – which in essence is a denunciation not just of Israelis but also of the Turks, a mocking of their efforts to “foil” a non-existent plot. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to the assassinations and acts of sabotage by the Zionist regime will always be definite, authoritative and without endangering the security of ordinary citizens or the security of other countries,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry tweeted on Friday [June 24].

Yes, of course. Ipse dixit. The Iranian response to Mossad sabotage and assassinations “will always be definite and authoritative.” But tell us, please, where has there been a single act of sabotage by Iran inside Israel? And we can’t help noticing that not a single Israeli has yet been assassinated by the Iranians. Their response so far is “definite,” “authoritative,” and… non-existent.

It [the Iranian Foreign Ministry] spoke up one day after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a quick trip to Turkey to meet with the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusogluuin [sic] after Turkish intelligence led to 10 arrests of members of an Iranian-backed terror cell in the Istanbul area.

Lapid spoke of the plot at a joint press conference he held with Çavusogluuin [sic].

“Just today it was published that Turkish intelligence recently foiled an Iranian plot in Istanbul. We are full of appreciation,” Lapid said.

“Iran is behind these terror attacks – intelligence leaves no doubt about it,” he added.

And Çavuşoğlu, and the rest of the Turkish government, agree. When the Iranians dismiss it all as “ridiculous Zionist accusations,” they are not just attacking the Israelis. They are attacking the Turkish intelligence agents. They are attacking Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu. They are attacking Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s notoriously thin-skinned, and he will remember that Iranian insult for a very long time.

The renewal of diplomatic contact comes as relations have chilled between Ankara and Tehran, with Iran blaming Israel for stoking that tension. The “baseless accusations [and] allegations made by the Zionist regime’s FM in Ankara at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart was ‘ridiculous’ and part of a pre-planned scenario to deteriorate the relations between the two Muslim countries,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry tweeted.

So that press conference with Lapid and Çavuşoğlu was part of a “pre-planned scenario” — meaning that the Turks were in on it, were collaborating with the Israelis. This charge will also be long remembered in Istanbul. 

Iran has, not for the first time, proved in this affair to have been its own worst enemy. Instead of insulting the Turks by claiming the plots they were so proud to have unearthed, and for which the Israelis were so grateful, were fictions concocted by the Israelis, they ought to have taken another tack. They might, for example, have simply kept their own counsel, remained silent. Or an Iranian spokesman might have said: “We are horrified at the news about a so-called Iranian plot unearthed in Turkey. We are still trying to get to the bottom of this, but we have reason to believe that this was a rogue operation, undertaken without the government ‘s knowledge and certainly without its permission. We apologize to the brotherly nation of Turkey for this infringement on its sovereignty.”

Absurd, but you never know when it comes to the Muslim Middle East. Try it out, Supreme Leader. Run it up the flagpole, and see if anyone in Turkey salutes.

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