Nations react angrily to UK, US spying

Turkey, Russia and South Africa have reacted furiously to recent revelations that the British government joined USâ„¢s NSA and Canadaâ„¢s security agency to spy on their senior officials during Londonâ„¢s G20 summit in 2009.

Turkish foreign ministry described as Å“unacceptable” the British governmentâ„¢s interception of phone calls and monitoring of the computers of the countryâ„¢s Finance Minister Mehmet ÅžimŸek and nearly 15 members of his delegation to the London summit and added that the eavesdropping effort on a NATO ally would be Å“scandalous” if confirmed, media outlets reported on Monday and Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry in Ankara further summoned the British ambassador to Turkey to convey the governmentâ„¢s angry reaction.

“The allegations in the Guardian are very worrying … If these allegations are true, this is going to be scandalous for the UK. At a time when international co-operation depends on mutual trust, respect and transparency, such behavior by an allied country is unacceptable,” said a foreign ministry spokesman in Ankara in an official statement.

The development comes as the UK-based Guardian newspaper revealed that the British secret wiretapping agency, GCHQ, targeted the Turkish finance minister during a G20 economics meeting hosted in London in September 2009. It also contemplated on bugging the communications of 15 named members of the ministerâ„¢s staff and of Turkey’s central bank.

The aim of the spying operation was to collect information about the Turkish position on the reform of the global financial infrastructure amid the world banking crisis.

Moreover, South Africaâ„¢s foreign ministry, which was targeted by the GCHQ hacking operation in 2005 as well, also voiced concern over the British spying effort, demanding an Å“investigation.”

“We do not yet have the full benefit of details reported on but in principle we would condemn the abuse of privacy and basic human rights particularly if it emanates from those who claim to be democrats,” said a foreign ministry statement in Pretoria.

“We have solid, strong and cordial relations with the United Kingdom and would call on their government to investigate this matter fully with a view to take strong and visible action against any perpetrators,” the statement reportedly added.

In Moscow, meanwhile, Russian authorities emphasized that the reported interception of top-secret communication of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at Londonâ„¢s 2009 G20 summit by US spies would further damage the already tense US-Russia ties and cast a shadow over the on-going G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Details of the spying operation, outlined in a briefing prepared by the American National Security Agency (NSA), were leaked to the press by the spy agencyâ„¢s whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported by the Guardian on Sunday.

The leaked documents demonstrated that American intelligence operatives in Britain spied on Medvedev, who was the Russian president at the time and is now the countryâ„¢s prime minister.

Some of the documents posted on the Guardianâ„¢s Web site contained the logos of the NSA and Canadaâ„¢s security agency, suggesting that at least a portion of the spying effort were part of joint or shared operations. The documents further show that the British were provided with intelligence by the NSA, which was reportedly conducting its own eavesdropping operation on Medvedev.


This article originally appeared on: Press TV