The use of cell phones inside the Foreign Ministry will soon be prohibited to prevent future espionage attempts, officials have announced in the wake of the illegal recording of a meeting between Turkey’s top security officials, including the foreign minister.
Diplomats and other ministry personnel will not be allowed to carry their cell phones inside the ministry and, in addition, the meetings to be held in the ministry will take place in a cell phone-free environment, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
The move is part of a substantial plan to tighten the security inside the ministry which is expected to be implemented soon when accomplished.
Turkey was shocked last week after a recording of a high-level security meeting on Syria at the Foreign Ministry was leaked through social media, with all government officials calling it “espionage.” An Ankara prosecutor launched a probe into the incident on spying charges, while a detailed investigation is also being carried out by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Along with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, MİT chief Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Gürel were present at the meeting.
Initial findings of the investigation revealed that the spying was from inside the ministry. President Abdullah Gül, talking to reporters traveling with him to Kuwait, confirmed that it was perpetrated from inside the ministry, implying that it could bring about a purge at the ministry upon the foreign minister’s initiative.
Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru confirmed to the Daily News that efforts were underway to tighten security inside the ministry and its premises elsewhere. “We were already very careful on these issues, but this incident has shown that we have to scrutinize security measures we have been implementing,” Koru said.
Koru did not give details of the new security precautions to be taken but underlined that it will be a substantial one that focuses on document and communication security, the confidentiality of meetings and the physical security of the premises, according to the HDN.