National Intelligence Organization
Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT)
Emblem of the National Intelligence Organization
Agency overview
FormedJuly 22, 1965; 58 years ago (1965-07-22)
Preceding agency
JurisdictionGovernment of Turkey
HeadquartersÇankaya, Ulus, Ankara, Turkey
Annual budget 1.06 billion (2014)[3]
Agency executive

The National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) is the governmental intelligence organization of Turkey. It was established in 1965 to replace the National Security Service.[4]

According to the former director of Foreign Operations, Yavuz Ataç, the military presence in the organization is negligible.[5] This is a recent development, as the organization has a military heritage. In 1990, the fraction of military personnel was 35%. Today it has dropped to 4.5% in the lower echelons [2] a former deputy undersecretary Cevat Öneş said that the MİT suffered with each coup, as the military junta that took over the organization had its own set of priorities.[6]

In order to ensure reliability, the organization has historically recruited from relatives of existing employees.[7] The former undersecretary, Emre Taner, says that this is no longer the case.[8] He is credited with reducing the turf war between the MİT and the police intelligence, as well as infighting inside the MİT itself.[9] Taner announced a restructuring of the MİT at the start of 2009.[10]

The MİT co-operates with American and Russian intelligence agencies.[11]


Nationwide Intelligence

The MİT, which exists to serve the Republic of Turkey and is furnished with duties and responsibilities in line with this aim, is in charge of collecting nationwide security intelligence on existing and potential threats from internal and external sources posed against the territory, people and integrity, the existence, independence, security, and all the other elements that compose the constitutional order and the national power of the Republic of Turkey. The MİT is in charge of communicating collected intelligence to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, the Secretary General of the National Security Council and other relevant state organizations as necessary.

The MİT is in charge of counterintelligence activities in Turkey. The MİT cannot be given any other duty and cannot be led to any other field of activity than collecting intelligence concerning the security of the Republic. The MİT engages in a proactive cyber defence program for Turkey and the use of cyberwarfare as a platform for attack. The Turkish Ministry of National Defence considers cybersecurity as the country's "fifth frontier" after land, air, sea and space. The MİT uses local cybersecurity solutions mostly developed by companies Havelsan and Tübitak.

Organizational structure

Providing secrecy in the conduct of the duty and activities the MİT is responsible for is indisputably of utmost importance. The Organisation's legal basis and structure can be found in Law No. 2937, the Law on the State Intelligence Services and the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation, as well as several other laws.[12] Moving from the standpoint that otherwise it will be impossible to render intelligence services be fulfilled at the required level, the secrecy of records and information concerning the duties and activities of the MİT has been enforced with a penal clause included in the Organizational Establishment Law. Under the 27th Article, a sentence of imprisonment shall be faced in the cases of acquiring records and information concerning the duties and activities of the MİT, disclosing these records and information on negligence and causing these records and information to be obtained by unauthorized people.

Before November 2016, when two more main departments were added, had four main departments.[13]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2016)

Permission for investigation

Pursuant to Law No. 2937, high crimes levied against a MİT agent that fall within the jurisdiction of the Heavy Penal Courts (described by Interpol as the 'Central Criminal Courts') must be approved by the Prime Minister or several other relevant officials.

Permission for testimony

Testimony in court may only be made with and by the permission of the Undersecretary of the MİT. According to Article 29 of Law No. 2937, MİT agents must not give their testimony if it pertains to state secrets without further permission from the MİT Undersecretary.


The Organization owns a non-public Museum of Espionage consisting of a variety of spy equipment, which was revealed once in October 2013.

List of undersecretaries

Name Took office Left office
1 Avni Kantan July 14, 1965 March 2, 1966
2 Mehmet Fuat Doğu March 2, 1966 March 27, 1971
3 Nurettin Ersin August 2, 1971 July 25, 1973
4 Bülent Türker July 26, 1973 February 27, 1974
5 Bahattin Özülker February 28, 1974 September 26, 1974
6 Bülent Türker September 26, 1974 November 24, 1974
7 Hamza Gürgüç November 25, 1974 July 13, 1978
8 Adnan Ersöz July 13, 1978 November 19, 1979
9 Bülent Türker November 19, 1979 September 7, 1981
10 Burhanettin Bigalı September 7, 1981 August 14, 1986
11 Hayri Ündül September 5, 1986 August 29, 1988
12 Teoman Koman August 29, 1988 August 27, 1992
13 Sönmez Köksal November 9, 1992 February 11, 1998
14 Şenkal Atasagun February 11, 1998 June 11, 2005
15 Emre Taner June 15, 2005 May 26, 2010
16 Hakan Fidan May 26, 2010 February 10, 2015[14]
17 Hakan Fidan March 9, 2015[15]

Espionage against other countries

Espionage in Austria

On 2017, Peter Pilz released a report about the activities of Turkish agents operating through ATIB (Avusturya Türkiye İslam Birliği – Austria Turkey Islamic Foundation), the Diyanet’s arm responsible for administering religious affairs across 63 mosques in the country, and other Turkish organizations. Pilz’s website faced a DDoS attack by Turkish hacktivists and heavy security was provided when he presented the report publicly. Per the report, Turkey operates a clandestine network of 200 informants targeting opposition as well as Gülen supporters inside Austria.[16]

Espionage against Egypt

On November 22, 2017, Egypt’s public prosecutor has ordered the detention of 29 people suspected of espionage on behalf of Turkey against Egypt national interest and joining a terrorist organization. They are also accused of money laundering, conducting overseas calls without a license and trading currency without a license. According to the results of an investigation by the General Intelligence Services, the group has been recording phone calls and passing information to Turkish intelligence as part of a plan to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to power in Egypt.[17][18]

Espionage in Germany

In July 2015 The Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that German federal prosecutors were looking into claims that three men - two Turks and a German national - were instructed by MIT to spy on Erdogan critics in Cologne, particularly Kurds and members of the Muslim minority Alevi community.[19]

On 2016, Bundestag intelligence oversight committee members demanded answer from German government about the reports that Germans of Turkish origin are being pressured in Germany by informers and officers of Turkey's MIT spy agency. According to reports Turkey had 6,000 informants plus MIT officers in Germany who were putting pressure on "German Turks". Hans-Christian Ströbele told that there was an "unbelievable" level of "secret activities" in Germany by Turkey's MIT agency. According to Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, not even the former communist East German Stasi secret police had managed to run such a large "army of agents" in the former West Germany: "Here, it's not just about intelligence gathering, but increasingly about intelligence service repression."[19] German lawmakers have called for an investigation, charging that Turkey is spying on suspected Gulen followers in Germany.[20] Many people who were spied upon were German citizens.[21]

In December 2016, a 31-year-old Turkish citizen who had resided in Germany for a decade was arrested in Hamburg on suspicion of espionage and plotting the assassination of two prominent Kurds on behalf of Turkish security services.[16]

In March 2017 the Turkish secret intelligence service was accused of conducting espionage of more than 300 people and 200 associations and schools linked to supporters of exiled Fethullah Gülen. Boris Pistorius, interior minister for Lower Saxony State, called this "intolerable and unacceptable", stating that "the intensity and ruthlessness with which people abroad are being investigated is remarkable". A German security official said that "we are horrified at how openly Turkey reveals that it is spying on Turks living here".[22][23][24] On 30 March 2017 Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere expresses suspicions that the move may have been intended to weigh on Turkish-German relations − "to provoke us in some way".[25] The appallment was deepened when it was revealed that the 300 persons included politicians, including Michelle Müntefering.[26][27][28]

Espionage against Greece

On August 2013, Greek police arrested a German citizen on the island of Chios on suspicion of spying for Turkey. Police said they had found in the man’s possession cameras, laptops, maps and glasses with an embedded camera, and an email the he had sent to an unidentified recipient with details on Greek warships and army vehicles on the island. The man confessed he had photographed barracks and other military-related buildings on the island for five people he believed were Turkish nationals who paid him up to 1,500 euros ($2,000) for each assignment. Greek authorities suspected that the individuals worked for the Turkish secret services.[29]

Espionage in Sweden

An investigation was launched on suspicion of unlawful intelligence gathering and illegal “mapping” against opposition circles in Sweden.[30]

Espionage in Switzerland

Parliamentarian Alex Kuprecht announced that the government was considering opening a criminal case against regarding espionage and other illegal activities performed by Turkish agents against dissidents. Also, there were espionage against academics who were critical of Turkey.[16]


  1. ^ "History of the MİT, MİT official Web site". Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  2. ^ a b Ünlü, Ferhat (2007-07-19). "MİT'te iç çekişme entrikaya yol açtı". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-12-18. Yaklaşık 5 bin kadrolu personeli bulunan kurumda (Yardımcı istihbarat elemanları ile birlikte bu sayı çok daha fazla) alt kademelerdeki ordu kökenlilerin oranının yüzde 4.5'i geçmediği belirtiliyor.
  3. ^ MIT Budget
  4. ^ Undersecretaries, MİT official website Template:Tr icon
  5. ^ Ünlü, Ferhat (2007-07-16). "İngiliz general Apo'nun başına beş milyon sterlin istedi". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-12-18. Ataç, ordu kökenlilerin oranının hiçbir zaman yüzde dördü geçmediğini belirttiği MİT'te, sivilleşme olgusu ve asker-sivil sorunsalının yanlış ele alındığı görüşünde.
  6. ^ "'Hiçbir darbe gizli olmadı'". 2007-07-15. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-18. Öneş'e göre, askeri müdahaleler MİT'i geri bırakan asıl etkenlerdi. Çünkü MİT'in güvenlik anlayışı darbelere göre şekillendi. Demokratik süreç kesintiye uğrayınca istihbarat teşkilatı da geri kaldı. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ "Kim kimin akrabası?". Sabah (in Turkish). 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2008-12-18. [dead link]
  8. ^ "MİT'te akrabalık önemli referans". Sabah (in Turkish). 2007-07-20. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-18. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  9. ^ Sariibrahimoglu, Lale (2008-12-07). "Turkey needs an intelligence coordination mechanism, says Güven". Sunday's Zaman. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2008-12-17. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  10. ^ Yetkin, Murat (2009-01-01). "Mercek altındaki MİT'te köklü değişiklik yapıldı". Radikal (in Turkish). Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  11. ^ Ünlu, Ferhat (2007-12-20). "Türki cumhuriyetlerin başkentlerini bilmiyorduk". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-10-22. ABD'den istihbarat geliyor
  12. ^ "National Intelligence Organization". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  13. ^ "Post-coup shake-up at Turkey's intelligence agency". 6 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Turkey".
  15. ^ "Former Turkish spy chief re-appointed to post after abandoning election bid". 9 March 2017 – via Reuters.
  16. ^ a b c "Turkey's Influence Network In Europe Is Leading To Tension". huffingtonpost. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Egypt detains 29 people on suspicion of espionage for Turkey". 22 November 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017 – via Reuters.
  18. ^ "In Pictures: Egypt foils Turkish espionage attempt - Egypt Today". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Report: Turkey's MIT agency menacing 'German Turks'".
  20. ^ "German Lawmakers Call for Probe on Imams Suspected of Spying for Turkey". turkeypurge. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  21. ^ "ERDOGAN'S MUSLIM SPIES: Turkish imams snooping on Merkel's Germany for President". express. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Germany accuses Turkey of 'unacceptable' spying". The Independent. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Germany to investigate claims of 'intolerable' spying by Turkey". The Guardian. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Turks in Germany warned over surveillance from Ankara". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Germany: Turkish spy list may be deliberate provocation". Fox News. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  26. ^ "Müntefering wirft türkischem Geheimdienst Denunziation vor". (in German). Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Name of German SPD lawmaker Michelle Müntefering found on Turkish spying list". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Spionage-Affäre: Michelle Müntefering auf türkischer Geheimdienstliste" (in German). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  29. ^ "Greek police arrest German on suspicion of spying". reuters. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  30. ^ "Report: Sweden Launches Espionage Probe Into Turkish Gov't Representatives". stockholmcf. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

Further reading

39°56′30.85″N 32°51′15.60″E / 39.9419028°N 32.8543333°E / 39.9419028; 32.8543333