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The Operational Capacity of Turkish Intelligence within the Scope of Use of High-Technology Products

This study evaluates the increasing operational capacity of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) within the scope of the high-technology products Türkiye has been developing, especially in the last 10 years. Türkiye’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program has made a significant contribution to MİT’s operational power and to Türkiye’s military capacity. MİT has effectively used armed and unarmed UAVs in counter-terrorism activities in Türkiye, Syria, and Iraq; it can obtain instant intelligence relating to terrorist targets and plan operational activities via effective Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) collection methods. The espionage provision that enables political decision-makers to make real-time decisions based on this intelligence plays a great role in determining Türkiye’s regional policy strategies. Another hightech advance that contributes significantly to MİT’s operational capacity is the Intelligence, Test, and Training ship, the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) Ufuk, Türkiye’s first national intelligence ship. As of January 2022, the use of the TCG Ufuk began to significantly increase MİT’s technical intelligence capacity. This article analyzes the contribution of Türkiye’s increasing capacity to develop high-tech products to the operational efficiency of Turkish intelligence, along with the intelligence cycle model followed by MİT within the scope of Türkiye’s counter-terrorism and foreign espionage activities.

The Operational Capacity of Turkish Intelligence within the Scope of






Since its very beginnings, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) has been operating within the Turkish borders and beyond in order to protect Turkish interests and prevent harm to the integrity of the country. MİT’s authority and responsibilities in providing intelligence that serves in the fight against terrorism, the coordination of intelligence activities, and the execution of espionage and counter-espionage activities.1

The activities that MİT plans, performs, and carries out to fulfill its missions and duties are supported by both technological and human intelligence (HUMINT). Espionage, counter-espionage, counter-terrorism (national security intelligence), covert operations, the fight against organized crime on a transnational and global scale, intelligence diplomacy, and security investigations of public personnel assigned to various duties are among the intelligence activities performed by MİT. Like all intelligence services, MİT plans and conducts its intelligence activities within the limits of its services and protocols based on the law governing its establishment. Law 2937, on State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Organization, shapes MİT’s legal duties and intelligence activities.2

Threat centers that are identified by MİT as intelligence targets, and operational activities carried out in regard to these targets based on the national and international conjuncture and technological developments, intelligence gathering, and analysis processes may vary due to a number of factors. For instance, the activities conducted by MİT during the Cold War era generally consisted of espionage, counter-espionage, and counter-terrorism operations carried out under the authority of the Counter-Communism and the Counter-Soviet Departments. In other words, MİT’s activities during the Cold War era can generally be thought as part of the traditional duties of an intelligence service.3 Accordingly, despite the limited capacity and means of the Cold War era, MİT endeavored to analyze the foreign policy strategies of other states; it provided intelligence to foreign policy decision-makers that enabled them to make the right decisions, provided strategic intelligence, fought against terrorism and analyzed the military activities and strategies of other states. Moreover, it prevented domestic espionage activities and possible assassinations, sabotage, and the agitating activities of other intelligence services fought against organized crime, and protected Türkiye’s state secrets and confidential government intelligence.

Türkiye’s increase in technological capabilities in defense industry sectors and in providing technical intelligence in the post-2010 period cannot be ignored

In contrast, MİT’s activities in the post-Cold War era have been shaped within the scope of Türkiye’s proactive foreign policy toward many problems in the region and at the global level. Thus, especially during the post-2010 period when the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AK Party) came to power, MİT amplified its fight against the separatist terrorist organization, Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), and other terrorist organizations. Consequently, MİT expanded the traditional duties of an intelligence service with a much broader vision in the post-2010 period to include the following tasks:

  • Providing information and analyses regarding foreign policy issues that enable political decision-makers to make the right decisions; giving notice in advance about the foreign policy moves of rival states in the international system; providing strategic intelligence on issues necessary for decision-makers regarding internal and external threat targets.
  • Fighting against terrorism and performing active operational missions abroad while increasing the technological assets and capabilities that enable it to do so.
  • Supporting military operations abroad; following developments regarding the military activities and strategies of rival states or terrorist organizations in the international system; providing necessary intelligence to the relevant institutions.
  • Supporting the development of military strategies; providing the necessary information to decision-makers and relevant institutions regarding risks and threats that could arise from other states or terrorist organizations.
  • Closely following global developments in economy and trade; gathering in- formation about the possible steps of rival states regarding their economic activities and plans; providing decision-makers with the necessary information before signing commercial agreements in order to obtain the most favorable conditions.
  • Controlling whether the conditions of the international agreements to which Türkiye is a party are fulfilled; providing intelligence regarding the possible attitudes and behaviors of the parties to such agreements.
  • Developing active counter-espionage strategies against the espionage activities of other intelligence services, including possible assassinations, sabotages, and provocations.
  • Gathering intelligence on organized crime activities, especially on a global scale, that are harmful to the country’s national security, in cooperation with other intelligence services.
  • Conducting negotiations that a state must keep covert and secret with state or non-state actors; organizing and concluding such processes.


New headquarters of Turkish National Intelligence Agency, located in Ankara, Türkiye, January 5, 2020. AYTAÇ ÜNAL / AA

Türkiye’s increase in technological capabilities in defense industry sectors and in providing technical intelligence in the post-2010 period cannot be ignored. The technology production capacities of its public and private institutions are increasing rapidly every year. For example, in 2018, Türkiye’s defense and aero- space industry exports were $2.03 billion; this figure increased to $2.74 billion in 2019. Whereas in 2020, an export figure of $2.28 billion was recorded, this figure increased to $3.22 billion in 2021. These figures are a reflection of the rapid growth of Türkiye’s defense industry.4

The tangible results of the enhancement of Türkiye’s technological possibilities and capabilities in defense industry sectors and in the capacity to provide technical intelligence are evident in the increased scope of its counter-terrorism and espionage activities abroad.



Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence


Counter-terrorism activity generally refers to the efforts of intelligence services in relation to the fight against terrorism. Counter-terrorism in action involves detecting the activities of a target terrorist organization or individual, discovering information about the target and its activities, and fighting against terrorist organizations with the intelligence obtained in these efforts.

Using intelligence well in counter-terrorism activities is vital for a state like Türkiye, which has actively struggled against a number of terrorist organizations for many years. Intelligence plays a remarkable role in uncovering the actions and strategies of these organization at the right time. Every decision in the military, judicial, political, diplomatic, and social field regarding counter-terrorism activities should be put into practice only after considering the analysis of the intelligence about the relevant terrorist organization.

Türkiye’s domestic UAVs and UCAVs have become decisive tools in the fight against terrorism

Counter-terrorism activities and strategies are shaped based on their purposes, such as penetrating a target terrorist organization or other terrorist targets, preventing its activities, and neutralizing or destroying it. The intelligence cycle model implemented by MİT for counter-terrorism activities progresses through the following stages:5

  1. Target Determination: Threat points of terrorist organizations and the persons who may commit terrorist acts are determined at this stage. These focal points and individuals are determined as intelligence targets.
  2. Penetration: At this stage, the identified threat centers are infiltrated with special tracking and surveillance equipment to facilitate intelligence col- lection opportunities. Establishing an agent network to gather information about the target terrorist organization is important at this stage.6 The desk officer and the case officer should still work in harmony at this point. There may be serious complications if they fail. For example, in the U.S., the director of a civil aircraft-training center who was recruited as an agent before the September 11 attacks informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that some suspicious Arab individuals wanted to receive aircraft training, but they only endeavored to learn how to lift the aircraft. The field office sent this information to the intelligence analysis unit; however, the unit responded, “there is no need to research the matter.”7
  3. Providing intelligence: At this stage, there is an effort to provide information on issues such as location, time, collaborators, logistics providers, and similar issues of terrorist focus and possible terrorist acts. This must be undertaken cautiously to avoid being detected. It is vital to learn the location, movements, accompanying persons, and travel information if a terrorist suspect is identified as a target. It is worth noting that target persons may decipher the control activity, and may hide their real intention and collaborators, try to escape or hide, and even attack the relevant intelligence officers. At this stage, it is of high importance to document and gather proof of the illegal activities of the target with audio, video, and other technical means, and to follow and monitor the target precisely.
  4. Finalization: The counter-terrorist departments move to this stage after deciphering and proving the illegal action plan of the target they are following. The main responsibility at this stage is the initiation of the judicial investigation process. The available information is coordinated with other institutions operating in the field of intelligence and all aspects of the activity are deciphered within the judicial control process. Moreover, there is a need to learn all the information about the target within the scope of the query on legal grounds.

It is necessary to expertly coordinate how and when this operational planning will be conducted, and to determine whether operational planning will be carried out against a terrorist. Great care should be taken in order not to cause any civilian casualties.

Figure 1: Counter-Terrorism and the Intelligence Cycle Model

Source: Compiled by the author

MİT plans and carries out counter-terrorism activities within the scope of the intelligence model illustrated in Figure 1. MİT has effectively used its UAV and unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capacity in recent years to perform in every stage of this intelligence cycle. MİT also benefits from the technical intelligence gathering techniques in the fields of sophisticated ELINT and SIGINT.



Türkiye’s Technological Advances


In the 2000s, Türkiye attempted to meet its need for armed and unarmed UAVs mainly by foreign procurement methods. Many efforts were made to supply armed and unarmed UAVs originating from Israel and the U.S. However, no satisfying cooperation could be established with either of these countries due to foreign policy friction and other technical issues.8 In the last ten years, how- ever, Türkiye has made spectacular progress in developing its own national UAV and UCAV program. Domestic UAV and UCAV development and production activities, which started in the 1990s under the leadership of the Presidency of Defense Industries (PDI), intensified remarkably after 2004.9 Türkiye began using armed UAVs in its counter-terrorism operations after 2016; the domestically produced medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle Bayraktar TB2 performed its first duty in Çukurca in September 2016. In this operation, five PKK terrorists were neutralized.10 A total of 405 terrorists were eliminated by UAVs in the first two years of their use in Türkiye’s counter-terrorism operations.11 Bayraktar UAVs provided the coordinates of targets belonging to ISIS terrorists, which were then destroyed by Turkish warplanes during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was carried out in Northern Syria in 2016.12

The operational capacity achieved by MİT through the use of UCAVs is evident, considering that this operation was carried out in a civilian settlement area in the interior of Iraq, without harming any civilians

Türkiye’s domestic UAVs and UCAVs have become decisive tools in the fight against terrorism. They have proven their effectiveness in providing advanced intelligence, surveillance, target identification, and reconnaissance capabilities for counter-terrorism intelligence gathering and operational activities since 2016, the year MİT began recording them into inventory. They have been actively used for both intelligence gathering and operational activities in North- ern Iraq, Syria, and Libya within the scope of operational activities coordinated with the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).

Many operations have been conducted against PKK targets by MİT since 2016. For example, İsmail Özden, a member of the Union of Communities of Kurdistan (Koma Civakên Kurdistanê, KCK) and one of the PKK’s top executives, was neutralized in a joint, cross-border operation between MİT and the TAF in Sincar in August 2018. After MİT conducted its surveillance to detect the target, F-16 jets and Bayraktar TB2s successfully destroyed Özden’s convoy.13 The successful completion of this operation without harming civilians is proof of how effectively MİT uses UCAVs in its operational activities. Another sensitive operation was carried out jointly by the MİT and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in Northern Iraq on May 18, 2021, against Khalaf al-Muham- mad, code-named Sofi Nurettin, a top PKK executive. MİT received advance notice that Nurettin would cross from Syria to Northern Iraq and stay in a cave for a certain period of time. His movements were followed and after he entered the cave, the operation was carried out.14 In another instance, thanks to a successful MİT operation, the PKK’s Mahmur-Kirkuk-Süleymaniye general manager, the terrorist Mehmet Erdoğan, was neutralized in Mosul in the North of Iraq on May 22, 2022. The operational capacity achieved by MİT through the use of UCAVs is evident, considering that this operation was carried out in a civilian settlement area in the interior of Iraq, without harming any civilians.15

Thanks to its advanced systems, the TCG Ufuk performs serious tasks and provides very important capabilities to the Turkish Navy and MİT in terms of intelligence

The three operational activities mentioned above illustrate the intelligence cycle model followed by MİT within the scope of counter-terrorism activities. First, during these three operational activities, the locations of the target persons were determined by various intelligence collection methods. After this first stage, in- formation about the target person’s road routes, accompanying persons, vehicles, whereabouts, and final destinations was obtained. After completing the second phase, intelligence was continuously provided to target these individuals by means of UAVs, and the operational activities were finalized at the last stage.

Since 2016, MİT has successfully utilized the operational capability achieved by Türkiye’s domestically produced UAVs and UCAVs in operation Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, Peace Spring, and many other counter-terrorism operations performed against the terrorist organization PKK located in Southeast Türkiye and the North of Iraq. Moreover, Türkiye sent UAVs and UCAVs to Libya to support the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed with the GNA in 2019. Turkish UAVs and UCAVs, which were successfully used in operational activities in Libya, once again demonstrated their operational and intelligence collection capabilities. MİT’s current UAV and UCAV capacity is a force multiplier in Turkish intelligence activities and counter-terrorism operations; in other words, the UAV and UCAV inventory has made MİT more powerful via the development of locally made, precision-guided munitions in operation- al-planning and intelligence-gathering activities.

MİT has been working in close cooperation with the Presidency of Defense Industries and has developed a significant number of Turkish defense industry products in the last few years. There is limited information regarding these products in open sources. A more exact evaluation of the UAVs and UCAVs in MİT’s inventory can be conducted when its operational activities carried out abroad within the scope of the fight against terrorism are analyzed.

For example, ANKA-I is an ANKA UAV configuration developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ) in accordance with MİT’s requests. The ANKA-I UAV was designed with ELINT and SIGINT activities in mind. It can perform imagery intelligence (IMINT) through its electro-optical system. At the same time, MİT’s Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs have enjoyed great success, especially in Libya. The MAM-L and MAM-C ammunitions produced by Roketsan are used by the Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs in the MİT inventory. The Akıncı UCAV project was developed by Baykar Defense. It is also known that the Akıncı TİHA, which was made available to Turkish security units at the end of 2020, is in the MİT inventory. Akıncı UCAVs can be used in attack missions and in SIGINT activities.16

MİT’s SIGINT and ELINT capabilities have improved significantly in re- cent years. The basis of MİT’s current ELINT capacity is the Department of Electronic Technical Intelligence, which has been operating within its organizational structure for many years. This structure meets MİT’s ELINT needs through its advanced technology capacity. The responsibility of the Presidency of Electronic Technical Intelligence is to collect, record, analyze and generate intelligence on information, documents, and news related to intelligence matters by using the full range of ELINT procedures, tools, and systems.17

MİT acquired sophisticated SIGINT capacity mainly after the TAF, Command of Electronic Systems (GES) was transferred to MİT in 2012.18 After that, GES was transformed into the department of Signal Intelligence (SIB) within the body of MIT and continued its activities. SIB has listening devices and antennas that provide direct encrypted communication with many regions of the world. MİT has also attained the capacity to obtain a strong SIGINT in the Middle East thanks to the SIB.

Türkiye’s newest amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu (L) and intelligence ship TCG UFUK (R) entered the Turkish Naval force inventory in 2022, to increase the capacity of the Turkish Navy. AA

MİT’s ELINT and SIGINT capabilities are actively used for the identification of target individuals in foreign operations by means of intelligence on terrorist targets and the use of UCAVs within the scope of counter-terrorism activities. MİT can provide instant intelligence on terrorist targets and plan operational activities via available ELINT and SIGINT intelligence collection methods. MİT’S effective SIGINT and ELINT capabilities play a major role in conducting espionage that will facilitate political decision-makers in making the right decisions when determining Türkiye’s foreign policy strategies.



Espionage and Foreign Policy


In the literature, we can see many different definitions of espionage activities. For example, the British internal intelligence agency, MI5, defines espionage as, “the activity of illegally obtaining secret information through the agency of news staff, technical facilities, cyber espionage activities, and similar methods.19 According to Turkish intelligence literature, espionage is “the process of obtaining classified information of a foreign state, organization or institutional structure determined as an intelligence target through various illegal methods.” Hence, espionage activity can generally be defined as “intelligence that a country collects, analyzes and presents to a client to specify its strategy and policies toward a foreign country or organization.” Although definitions differ from state to state and individual methods may vary, the espionage activities carried out by states consist of gathering information on the confidential decision-making processes of the target state, its technological secrets and institutions, its industrial facilities located in foreign countries, and its critical infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure.

Timely and accurate intelligence regarding these waterways is of great importance for Türkiye to protect its national interests and follow the right strategies in its foreign policy

Considering the changing dynamics of modern-day trends and Türkiye’s proactive foreign policy strategies, the intelligence cycle model as part of MİT’s espionage operations consists of the following steps:20

  1. Identification of intelligence requirements: Intelligence requirements, at this stage, are identified based on mainly the demands of political decision-makers and other relevant government agencies such as the armed forces. The director of the intelligence service has a significant role here, as the person having the most direct contact with politicians and with security and intelligence institutions. The requirements and needs of these stakeholders and actors are specified and then directed to news field units within the country and abroad. For example, the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye conveys to the MİT director its strategies and plans regarding Türkiye’s Libya policy. Then, the MİT director directs the relevant departments to gather intelligence and make plans in keeping with this policy.
  2. Intelligence gathering: After an intelligence need is identified, the relevant departments of the intelligence service begin to gather the intelligence by mobilizing all their capabilities within the scope of this requirement. For example, regarding Libya, MİT mobilized all of its newsgathering facilities to gather information on possible risks and threats, as well as the potential reactions and countermoves of other states in the region regarding the new strategy implemented by Türkiye.
  3. Intelligence assessment: The raw data to be analyzed becomes intelligence data after its classification and evaluation. Intelligence data obtained from different sources is consolidated, simplified, reduced, and made clear and understandable. Useless information is discarded at this stage. Background information is organized in order of importance. For example, large quantities of information and documents were obtained from various sources about the possible risks that Türkiye might face and the reactions of other actors regarding the Libya issue. MİT’s intelligence analysts render the raw information simple and understandable by following the relevant processes.
  4. Production and presentation of intelligence: At this stage, the processed intelligence is analyzed together with the existing archive information and the news gathered from open sources. This process can be summarized as preparing information from various sources to meet the demands of political decision-makers. In brief, intelligence analysis is the work of extracting a meaningful whole from the plethora of available information. Accordingly, intelligence analysis has to be future-oriented. All available news is categorized based on the client’s needs and turned into intelligence. The prepared intelligence is then presented to the relevant stakeholders in the form of a document or supply note, verbal briefing, or another similar method.

For example, all the intelligence about Libya was compiled into an official document in the form of an information note. This note was then presented to the political decision-maker by the MİT director and the necessary instructions were received. The intelligence gathered by MİT may take the form of an information or supply note or an oral briefing. This new product is communicated to other institutions as necessary by applying the appropriate legal procedures

Figure 2: Espionage Activities and the Intelligence Cycle Model

Source: Compiled by the author

MİT plans and performs its espionage activities within the scope of the intelligence model illustrated in Figure 2. At every stage of this intelligence wheel, MİT has used its UAV and UCAV capacity effectively and successfully in counter/terrorism activities in recent years. Moreover, MİT also benefits from technical intelligence gathering techniques in the fields of sophisticated SIGINT and ELINT. Within MİT, SIP has played an important role in acquiring SIGINT and ELINT capabilities.

The commissioning of Türkiye’s first intelligence ship, the TCG Ufuk, on January 14, 2022, has contributed greatly to this capacity. Thanks to its advanced systems, the TCG Ufuk performs serious tasks and provides very important capabilities to the Turkish Navy and MİT in terms of intelligence. The Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Aegean Seas, which are part of the Turkish coastline, are among the most active maritime regions of the world. Timely and accurate intelligence regarding these waterways is of great importance for Türkiye to protect its national interests and follow the right strategies in its foreign policy. The navies of numerous other countries are stationed on these seas. Therefore, the intelligence activities carried out by the TCG Ufuk have two main aspects: the first is to provide the intelligence that Türkiye needs; the second is to respond appropriately in the event that the navies and intelligence services of other states begin to mobilize against Türkiye in these seas and to prevent such actions when necessary.21

The success of Türkiye’s UAV and UCAV projects has been proven many times, not only in Türkiye’s counter-terrorism activities but in both the Karabakh and Ukraine-Russia wars

The TCG Ufuk is 70 percent made/built domestically, which illustrates the capacity that Türkiye has achieved in its defense industry. The majority of Ufuk’s subsystems were produced domestically. ASELSAN, a Turkish defense corporation that manufactures advanced military supplies, developed the ship’s radar, combat, and ship navigation systems. The ADVENT war management system, ship data distribution system, ship integrated information system, CCTV system, and message operating system were produced by HAVELSAN, a domestic Turkish software company that works on IT and defense. Moreover, the string generators on the ship, the electrical system infrastructure, supply, production, and integration were developed by local companies. The design and production of the integrated platform control and monitoring system and consoles on board were also completed in Türkiye.22

According to open-source news, the MULTI-INT Multi-Function Special Mission Aircraft Project, which was initiated by the Presidency of Defense Industries in line with the needs of SIP, is carried out under the presidency of ASELSAN. One of the plans under this project is to include two Bombardier Challenger 600 aircraft with the ability to obtain SIGINT and IMINT in the MİT inventory, and to develop a MİT spy satellite. Undoubtedly, if all these projects are realized, MİT will be one of the most powerful intelligence services in the region and at the global level.23





The capabilities acquired by MİT within the scope of domestic technologies have made a significant contribution to Türkiye’s counter-terrorism activities, the achievement of its regional foreign policy goals, the deployment of its hard power in the field when necessary, and its efforts to become a proactive actor in the region. The success of Türkiye’s UAV and UCAV projects has been proven many times, not only in Türkiye’s counter-terrorism activities but in both the Karabakh and Ukraine-Russia wars. Moreover, the use of the MİT’s UAV and UCAV fleet to detect and monitor PKK and other terrorist targets to be operated upon when necessary has greatly contributed to the success of Türkiye’s counter-terrorism strategy.

MİT can instantly provide accurate and comprehensive intelligence regarding a target region and country within the framework of Türkiye’s foreign policy strategies, and present this intelligence to the political power

Today, MİT is able to continuously monitor and constrain the activities of the terrorist organization PKK in Türkiye, Syria, and Iraq by means of the ANKA-I, Bayraktar TB2, and Akıncı UCAVs in its inventory by working in coordination with the TAF. When necessary, the PKK is kept under pressure by these joint operational activities. The most important capabilities of the MİT through the use of UAVs and UCAVs are to quickly identify terrorist targets and destroy them immediately without wasting time. PKK elements, being aware of this ability, can no longer gather in large groups in Türkiye, Syria, or Iraq, and are forced instead to remain divided into small groups. This significantly limits the mobility of the organization and prevents its members from coming together in large groups to attack military units and base areas. PKK actions have been reduced to setting mine traps and engaging in mortar and anti-tank missile attacks that cause limited loss of life. The top management of the organization, faced with the operational activities of UAVs and UCAVs, have been forced to retreat further from the Turkish border to escape the at- tacks of the UCAVs and can only communicate through couriers. They have to wait in caves, hiding, motionless, for long periods of time. Therefore, the chain of communication between the organization’s management and its base has been weakened.

In addition to these achievements, Türkiye is building base areas in the North of Iraq, at an average distance of 20 km from the border; this prevents the PKK from infiltrating into Türkiye from these regions. As a result, the PKK’s ability to act in Türkiye is decreasing. These base areas are staffed with limited personnel and are defended against PKK attacks through mini-UAV systems and other surveillance and technical support systems. Thus, when PKK militants try to attack these areas, they suffer heavy losses.

Türkiye’s SIGINT, ELINT, and IMINT newsgathering capability for target regions have also improved significantly with the increase in MIT’s technological abilities and facilities. UAVs can operate outside the country, together with MİT’s Signal Intelligence Unit. Thanks to the contribution of the TCG Ufuk, Türkiye has become a power that can take initiatives in its region and follow a proactive foreign policy strategy conforming to its national interests.

As a result of all of these advances, MİT can instantly provide accurate and comprehensive intelligence regarding a target region and country within the framework of Türkiye’s foreign policy strategies, and present this intelligence to the political power. This capability contributes to the government’s ability to make correct and timely decisions in its foreign policy. Within the scope of Türkiye’s planned foreign policy strategies, MİT can take initiative more easily by seizing technological opportunities and establishing an effective intelligence network in the target-country and region. Thanks to this development, Türkiye’s foreign policy plans have been successfully implemented.

In conclusion, MİT is clearly among the intelligence services with the strongest technical intelligence capabilities in its region due to Türkiye’s investments in the field of technology in recent years. Because of these technical intelligence investments, MİT is now playing a much more effective role compared to the past, both in foreign operations and in cross-border counter-terrorism activities. All in all, MİT has increased its technical intelligence capacity to match its longstanding ability to conduct effective HUMINT operations and has contributed significantly to Türkiye’s ability to follow an effective proactive strategy within the scope of its national interests in the international system.




1. According to Law 2937 governing State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Organization, MİT members can use the rights and powers granted to the police and law enforcement entities while carrying out duties specified under Article 4 of MİT Law, on the protection of facilities and members, and counter-espionage issues. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from

2. “Devlet İstihbarat Hizmetleri ve Milli İstihbarat Teşkilati Kanunu,” MİT, retrieved from

3. “The Role of Intelligence,” FAS, (February 23, 1996) retrieved May 20, 2022, from

4. Göksel Yıldırım, “Defense and Aviation Industry Renewed Export Record,” Anadolu Agency, (December 3, 2021), retrieved May 10, 2022, from

5. Compiled by the author based on the data provided in Arthur S. Hulnick, “What’s Wrong with the Intelligence Cycle, Intelligence and National Security,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 21, No. 6 (2006), pp. 960-968.

6. Hulnick, “What’s Wrong with the Intelligence Cycle, Intelligence and National Security,” p. 970.

7. Commission Members, “9/11 Commission Report,” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, retrieved May 10, 2022, from

8. Sibel Düz, “UAVs, Turkey’s New Power in the Sky,” SETA, (October 2020), p. 16.

9. Düz, “UAVs, Turkey’s New Power in the Sky,” p. 17.

10. Orhan Onur Gemici, “Domestic UAV Hits 5 Terrorists in Its First Operation,” Anadolu Agency, (October 7, 2016), retrieved May 20, 2022, from

11. Düz, “UAVs, Turkey’s New Power in the Sky,” p. 18.

12. Diyar Güldoğan, “Turkish Forces Destroy 98 ISIS Targets in N. Syria,” Anadolu Agency, (October 11, 2016), retrieved May 20, 2022, from

13. “The Neutralization of İsmail Özden, Code Name Mam Zeki Şengali,” Anadolu Agency, (August 16, 2018), retrieved May 25, 2022, from

14. “Here Are the Moments when Terrorist Sofi Nurettin Was Neutralized,” Republic of Türkiye Ministry of National Defense, (May 18, 2021), retrieved May 25, 2022, from

15. Ali Burak Darıcılı, “Death Is Imminent for the So-called Leadership,” TRT Haber, retrieved May 25, 2022, from

16. Anıl Şahin, “Platform Period in the National Intelligence Organization (NIS),” Savunma Sanayi ST, retrieved May 26, 2022, from

17. “Milli İstihbarat Teşkilat Yapılanması,” MİT, retrieved May 25, 2022, from

18. “Yazılı Soru Önergesi,” TBMM, (August 17, 2012), retrieved May 24, 2022, from https://www2.tbmm.

19. “Counter-Espionage,” MI5, retrieved May 1, 2022, from

20. Compiled by the author based on data provided in “The Intelligence Cycle,” U.S. Naval War College, retrieved May 10, 2022, from

21. Hamza Kızılkaya, “Intelligence, Training and Test Ship A-591 TCG Ufuk,” Mavivatan, (May 2, 2022) retrieved May 3, 2022, from

22. Kızılkaya, “Intelligence, Training and Test Ship A-591 TCG Ufuk.”

23. Şahin, “Platform Period in the National Intelligence Organization.”

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