Turkey‘s Foreign Ministry called in the top US diplomat in Ankara on Monday after a news report over the weekend claimed Washington was spying on its NATO ally.
The report, by German weekly Der Spiegel, followed another article by Spiegel in August, which said Germany also spied on Turkey, sparking high-level meetings between the countries.
Turkish officials have said the German spying, if true, was “unacceptable.”
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Turkey called in the US charge d‘affaires to hear an “explanation,” without elaborating further.
The nominated US ambassador to Ankara has not yet been approved by the US Senate.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to reporters before a visit to Northern Cyprus, said he would raise the issue of spying at an upcoming NATO conference and at the UN General Assembly later this month.
However, Erdogan, somewhat downplaying the report, noted that “all countries with strong intelligence abilities” keep tabs on each other.
Der Spiegel reported that US and other NATO countries have been known to spy on Turkey, including in cooperation with the Turkish secret services. One shared aim has been to keep tabs on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers‘ Party, the PKK.
Der Spiegel said this information, at least in part, was shared with the Turkish authorities.
The US embassy had no immediate response. The embassy is closed for the US Labor Day holiday.