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The New Arab Staff

Spies leak classified information about Turkish energy imports to foreign company

Turkey's president recently announced a further discovery of natural gas in the Black Sea [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2020

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The leader of the spy cell has been arrested.
Turkish authorities have arrested a spy cell which allegedly leaked information about Ankara's energy activities to foreign companies, Arabi21 reported citing Turkish media.

The news, published in Turkish newspaper Sabah, comes at a time when Turkey is intensifying its controversial exploration of the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish security forces uncovered the spy cell made up of six people, the newspaper reported. 

The spies reportedly leaked classified information about Turkish energy imports to a foreign energy company.

The Turkish newspaper did not clarify who the spies were collecting information for, saying only that it was being passed onto a foreign company.

Agents in Istanbul have arrested Amal Ozturk, the alleged leader of the cell. Ozturk, a deputy general manager in a private energy company, was arrested on charges of political and military espionage, Sabah reported.

It is claimed that Ozturk passed confidential information to a partner who worked in the service of foreign intelligence agency.

According to the indictment, Ozturk was asked via e-mail to provide confidential information on details such as daily gas consumption and import prices in Turkey.

According to Turkish media, the cell leaked information about the capacity of the natural gas pipeline in Turkey.
The indictment called for different suspects to receive different sentences, ranging from life imprisonment to sentences of up to 21 years.

Turkish intelligence had been monitoring the spy cell since April. 

The news comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Mediterranean between Turkey and its neighbours Greece and Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that a vast natural gas field discovered in the Black Sea was even bigger than first estimated.

In August, Turkey said it had found gas reserves of 320 billion cubic metres (11.3 trillion cubic feet), a discovery that could help wean it off imported energy.

But on Saturday, Erdogan, who was on-board a drilling ship in the Black Sea, said the field was now 405 billion cubic metres, and that gas from the site could start being pumping into people's homes in 2023.

Read more: Turkey hits out after rivals Egypt, Cyprus and Greece unite in gas row

Ankara has said that the Black Sea find will not however deter it from exploring in the eastern Mediterranean, despite accusations from neighbouring Greece that its longtime rival is violating maritime borders.

Turkey this week resumed exploration in disputed areas of the Mediterranean, defying calls from fellow NATO members including the United States to withdraw.

Erdogan said Saturday that Turkey was "determined to defend its interests" in the Mediterranean but did not want to "encroach on the rights of others".

Agencies contributed to this report

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