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Iran expands intelligence footprint in Turkey through diplomatic facilities - Nordic Monitor

Iran expands intelligence footprint in Turkey through diplomatic facilities - Nordic Monitor
Abdullah Bozkurt/Stockholm

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Iran has been expanding its diplomatic and consular presence across Turkey by acquiring and constructing additional properties, a move facilitated by the favorable stance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pro-Iran government. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on June 15, 2020, allows Iran to purchase and construct new properties or renovate and expand existing buildings with staff awarded full diplomatic or consular immunity, exempt from any taxes or fees. This has raised concerns about Iran using its embassy and consular compounds to support terrorism and intelligence activities around the world. The Erdogan government has shown receptiveness to Iranian requests, allowing Iran to establish a permanent consulate in Van and expand its presence in Erzurum and Trabzon. The Erdogan government’s pro-Iran stance has led Turkey to deviate from the Western bloc on several issues over the past decade. Key positions around Erdogan are predominantly staffed by political Islamist individuals who were influenced in their youth by fantasies of the Iranian revolution.

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