The United States has been inextricably involved in Turkey’s surveillance and targeting of Kurdish rebel groups for years and even had a hand in a botched mission that resulted in the killing of 34 innocent people. Despite this ongoing collaboration, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden and jointly reported by The Intercept and Der Spiegel on Sunday, the country itself remains one of the National Security Agency’s top surveillance targets.
The NSA’s strategic alliance with Turkey has borne a surveillance headquarters in the Middle East from which the U.S. can monitor goings-on in Russia, Georgia and Syria. The reporting paints a picture of a troubling quid pro quo arrangement in which the establishment of the NSA listening station was given in exchange for U.S. intelligence information and assistance targeting individuals with the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) group.
However, the leaked documents further reveal that, despite this partnership, the government of Turkey is one of the United States’ leading targets for spying, with the NSA infiltrating the computer systems of the nation’s top leaders, UN representatives, and ambassadors in the U.S.