Erdogan unaware of Turkish spy boss briefing US senators

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he was not aware that the country’s top spy master had briefed US senators in Washington over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish media reported on Thursday that National Intelligence Organization (MIT) chief Hakan Fidan had briefed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and several US senators over Khashoggi’s slaying at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October.

Answering journalists’ questions after Jumu’ah prayers (Friday prayers) at the Hazrat Ali Mosque in Istanbul’s Uskudar district, Erdogan said: “MIT Chief Fidan visited Canada following his Latin American trip. After Canada he might have visited the US. I am not informed over whether Fidan visited the US and briefed US officials about Khashoggi.”

The Turkish president also responded to questions over his ruling Justice and Peace Party’s (also known as the AK Party) electoral alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Erdogan said that he was committed to keeping the alliance, known as the People Alliance and that there would possibly be a meeting in the coming week with MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli.

Erdogan emphasized that there were some who are jealous of the alliance between the AK Party and the MHP.

“There are many different groups whose working together to break our alliance. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP); people who have sided with terrorist organizations on the mountains work to destroy our alliance. There is no reason not to understand all of these activities of these opposition groups.”

Erdogan told journalists that he was keen to see the alliance with the MHP maintained until after next year’s local government elections to be held on March 31.

“As soon as we have completed technicalities, and they have as well, we will explain the rest (of the details) in accordance with the agreement of our alliance,” he said.

The electoral alliance between the ruling AK Party and the MHP in support of Erdogan’s re-election as president was established in February 2018 ahead of the elections held in June. The Nation Alliance, which was the main rival to the People’s Alliance, was created by the country’s four main opposition parties on May 3, but was dissolved on July 4.

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