According to court documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, Andaç Keskin, a 45-year-old Turkish officer at the field corps school of engineering in İzmir, arranged women for foreign military personnel deployed to Turkey from NATO member countries in order to collect information and procure confidential documents. The case file indicated that some of these documents were turned over to Russia.
“He knows a lot of NATO officers and organizes things. In planning for Izmir, he usually uses the Aktur Hotel, room no. 204. We fitted the room [with surveillance equipment],” a note about Keskin written by suspect Narin Korkmaz, one of the key operatives in the organized crime network, stated.
“Almost all the video recordings we acquired are about foreign NATO officers. Most of the footage is still with Andaç and kept on an encrypted hard drive,” Korkmaz further said, adding that Keskin helped her in infiltrating the logistics training center in Izmir’s Narlıdere district, a key base for NATO troops in training, especially in ordnance disposal, as well as the Kuleli military school in Istanbul. “It would be better if he only specializes in NATO,” she underlined.
Police filing with the prosecutor’s office that shows how Andaç Keskin was flagged as an operative in setting up NATO officers from allied nations in a sex entrapment scheme:NATO_Russia_classified_data
Keskin, who has a degree in teaching English, joined the military after he graduated from university. While teaching English to cadets, he was also tasked as coordinator and translator for matters related to NATO. The passcodes for the secure systems, recorded in his notebook, went missing from his office in the summer of 2011. The same notebook was found by the police during the execution of a search warrant in a home owned by Korkmaz’s father. Keskin claimed during a hearing on May 9, 2013 that he had reported the missing notebook to his commanders.
In addition to the hotel room, Keskin also used a private apartment owned by Ali Ertan Yıldıran, another suspect, in downtown Izmir. “He [Keskin] knows a lot of girls,” the note about him said.
Findings from seized digital materials from the home of Andaç Keskin showed classified military documents and a huge archive of photos and videos of sexual encounters:andac_keskin_archieve
The police went through the phone records to see if there was a connection between Keskin and Yıldıran and found that the two had frequently exchanged phone calls. In testimony to a judge at the Balikesir 2nd High Criminal Court on February 12, 2018 Yıldıran confirmed that he knew Keskin as a colleague. He stated that Keskin was the one who profiled people in the military and passed the information to Korkmaz. He denied having any knowledge of what Keskin and Korkmaz did with the intelligence they collected.
A 524-page expert report on the seized hard drives, flash drives, DVDs and CDs revealed that Keskin had archived thousands of photos and video footage of dozens of women in intimate, sexual encounters. The report, dated December 22, 2012 and prepared by six experts, indicated that not only explicit photos and videos of sexual encounters but also classified military documents were discovered in the digital materials. When asked during a hearing on May 9, 2013 by judge Atilla Rahman whether he contested the findings in the expert report on the seized hard drives and other digital storage devices. Keskin said he agreed with the findings and did not challenge the report.
The note was found in a Microsoft Excel document titled ajanda.xls stored on an external hard drive and was discovered during the execution of a search warrant in the home of suspect Korkmaz. The 300-row Excel document listed names, explanations and the type of documents obtained. Korkmaz was apparently keeping tabs on the assets she had developed in order to infiltrate secure military installations and obtain classified intelligence and documents.
In the same document a person code-named Sayo was listed as a top asset for the gang, and his house was also used to record the sexual encounters of military members. “He made one room ready for shooting,” the note stated, adding that information about the Turkish Air Forces SF-260D light trainer aircraft and other information was obtained from him. Police identified Sayo as Saygın Özdemir, listed as suspect, who had a house in Izmir’s Karşıyaka district. Phone records showed that he, too, had contact with Korkmaz.
According to the investigation file, Özdemir leaked performance reports of pilots assigned to the 151st squadron of the Turkish Air Forces and their evaluations on war preparedness. A document titled “F-1” reveals the frequencies and positions pilots used with ground control at the 5th Air Base and was described as vital information that could not be allowed to be leaked to an enemy in wartime.
Some pages from the report written by experts who examined the hard drives, DVDs and other materials seized from Andaç Keskin’s home. Dozens of women’s names were listed along with photos and videos:Andac_Keskin_report_digital
Another piece of key evidence discovered by Turkish investigators in the house of Safiye Köten, also a suspect in the case, filled in the missing pieces as to why the gang was after NATO information. The hard drive seized from Köten’s house described how the documents obtained would be sent to Russia. “Mehmet Emre Gultekin will hand over documents bound for Russia to Lt. Engin Karatekin,” the note stated.
Police chief Mehmet Ali Şevik submitted his team’s findings to the Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on May 11, 2012, requesting new search warrants for the homes and offices of the people listed in the seized documents, stating that more evidence could be recovered. The police detained 27 suspects in the initial sweep on May 5, 2012 and identified eight safe houses from documents seized from suspects Korkmaz and Köten. More suspects were rounded up in the second sweep.
In the end the Turkish prosecutor indicted 357 suspects including 55 active duty officers in 2013. The indictment also mentioned 831 victims and 196 co-plaintiffs. The criminal case was based on 1,900 pages of documentary evidence, wiretaps and surveillance records and digital footprints.
According to the indictment, the gang hired foreign women as prostitutes to send to military officers from whom the gang eventually obtained classified military information. The gang’s main objective was to earn profits through the sale of confidential military documents to third parties, according to the indictment. The gang, which included civilian suspects, infiltrated the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and had many members from inside the military, which facilitated its activities in establishing contact with high-ranking officers and obtaining confidential documents from them.
Ali Ertan Yıldıran, a colleague of Andaç Keskin, testified that it was Keskin who had illegally profiled people.Ali_Ertan_Yildian2
The indictment reveals how NATO and US security was compromised. For example, NATO documents seized from suspect Korkmaz during the execution of a search warrant identified Alparslan Yücel Soysal, also a suspect in the case, as revealing in detail the assets and capabilities of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EAD) units operating in every NATO member state. The note next to his name clearly singles out Russia, China and Iran as potential clients for the documents.
A suspect named Bülent Karaaslan, a bomb expert, supplied secret US and NATO directives in bomb-making and ordnance disposal techniques to the gang. Suspect Aydın Şit, an air forces officer, handed over FBI bomb-making analyses to the gang that explained how to manually make improvised bombs and where in the car these bombs should be planted. Suspect Ersin Kapucu, an air forces pilot, was identified as an important source for electronic warfare data and information on how it is used in the Turkish Air Forces and NATO. He supplied 22 Power Point presentation files dated 2009. A note in his file says he was soon expected to supply passcodes, which the gang believed would be very beneficial.
Suspect Nuri Dereli, a flight lieutenant, supplied the gang with a sensitive file called “Tur_AEM_F16.pdf,” which was 954 pages long in English and classified as “Secret Releasable to USA, TUR.” It details technical, tactical and procedural data for F-16 fighter jets. The note attached to this file says it should not be obtained by anybody else. It even warned that when a file of a similar nature was previously leaked, it created problems between Turkey and the US. “I repeat, it should not be leaked in order to not experience similar problems with the US,” the note added.
Similarly, suspect Okay Yalçın, an air forces officer, leaked sensitive information on US-made Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, including a 24-page secret document titled “60G-2-2-70 Hawk Passive Engagement System.pdf.” Another document explains how the munitions loaded on F-16s should be used and under what conditions. It says this document cannot be transferred to any country other than Turkey and the US.
The indictment identified the leader of the spy ring as Bilgin Özkaynak, a businessman, with Korkmaz as his aide. The prosecutor demanded life sentences for 11 suspects, including Özkaynak and Korkmaz, on charges of establishing and running an illegal organization; illegally obtaining secret military and personal information; sharing that information with third parties; and endangering state security.
The criminal case against the gang members was quashed by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and all suspects were let go. Many returned to their duties in the Turkish military, advancing in the ranks despite their controversial records. The prosecutors and police chiefs who exposed the gang and investigated their activities were prosecuted.