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This paper is designed to define the explain the intelligence structures of states especially the Turkey’s intelligence agency. This paper also divided into three sections. First section will explain the concept of intelligence. Second section will explain the intelligence structures of states and last section is an overview of the MIT the intelligence agency of Turkey.


Intelligence, as a dynamic concept at its core, is expressed by definitions such as receiving news and collecting information. However, as a result of the goals and tools that stand out in the ongoing process; information and data obtained as a result of using all kinds of tools from various sources have been defined in a general scope as a type of information obtained in order to realize national policies or prevent damage to these policies (Özdağ, 2008). In addition, Hank Prunckun, a professor of intelligence analysis, has put forward an important definition in terms of the concept of intelligence. According to Prunckun, intelligence emphasizes that ‘findings are always analyses that contain a certain level of probability and uncertainty, offering decision-makers existing solutions and rights of choice regarding defensible outcomes’. In addition, Prunckun also explained the concept of intelligence in 4 basic senses. These are the methods and activities used to produce information, the knowledge accumulated, the organizations interested in the information, the reports and briefings produced in the process or by the organizations (Prunckun, 2010). The concept of intelligence, defined in various ways in these respects, was also emphasized by Robert Gates, a former head of the CIA, as knowable things within the possibility, drawing attention to the privacy aspect (Herman, 2001).

The use of the achieved intelligence by the decision-maker for different tasks and purposes changes the definition, content and breadth of this concept. The concept of intelligence has been defined by the Turkish Language Institution as ‘newly learned information, sensations, information collection, receiving news’ (“İstihbarat”, Türk Dil Kurumu Sözlükleri). Another definition of the concept of intelligence is the phrase in the Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms of the US Department of Defense, “A product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation and interpretation of available information about foreign countries or areas it is indicated as” (“Intelligence”, “DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms”, (Department of Defense, September, 2019)).

Within the framework of its functional qualities, depth or superficiality, time, methods used, scope and methods of application, intelligence is divided into three levels. These three basic types are defined as tactical, operational and strategic. Tactical intelligence is a type of intelligence used in the military field and during combat, while operational intelligence serves to support plans and struggles that occur over a wider area and scope than tactical intelligence. Strategic intelligence, on the other hand, is used to create political, diplomatic, economic and military plans at the national and international levels. (Seren, 2017).


States create their own intelligence organizations within the scope of their strategic goals, geographical locations, threat perceptions, capabilities and capabilities in the military field. Since an effective and powerful mechanism will bring success in the struggle with this structure, an active and coordinated use of intelligence is important. In this context, the centrality of the intelligence collected by the states within the scope of their purposes and tools is in question. But it contains risks and threats within this central understanding; centrality appears in the structure as another point that should be considered from this point of view.

If we touch upon one of the most fundamental points in the process of changing intelligence; in the structure of the state that has changed with the Treaty of Westphalia, the foundation of today’s system has been laid as a result of the fact that the state is the main actor. In this context, there has also been a transformation of intelligence. We can define this change by the fact that intelligence that was previously intended for military purposes in a combat environment began to be used for the security of the state after the treaty (Sayın, ‘Medikal İstihbaratın Önemi ve İşlevselliği’, 2019). The Cold War Era, which is one of the periods that should be especially looked at in terms of intelligence structures of states and in the process of intelligence exchange, has directed intelligence only to areas such as security geopolitics and military forces within the context of various challenging contexts. However, with the developing and changing world order, there has been an expansion and deepening of security (Biçer, 2017).

The importance of intelligence for states in preventing and strategizing against the activities of non-state actors threatening national security in the Post-Cold War Period has become undeniable. As a result, some of the intelligence agencies formed as the CIA in America, MOSSAD in Iran, MIT in Turkey, MI6 in the UK, MSS in China, FSB in Russia emerged as a result of this.

With its mission to ‘protect the nation and advance national security interests’, the CIA assists policy makers and decision makers in the context of national security with their policies and decisions; It is a US agency that provides extensive intelligence on other countries and world-wide issues. In addition, the CIA, which october that “we are not a law enforcement organization”, is actually referring to the complex tasks of intelligence structures. It also states in his job description that its job is to act undercover as directed by the president and provide information to help create policy, rather than suggest policy, and create objective analyses as part of it (‘About CIA’, Central Intelligence Agency).

Mossad was established as a Coordinating Institute in 1949. The Mossad, a successor branch of the intelligence structure of the Jewish military power in Palestine, formerly called the Haganah, was able to continue its activities only after one year due to bureaucratic conflicts. Then, with the operation conducted in Argentina in 1960, which led to the capture and trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann, the Mossad demonstrated its competence and reliability in operations (‘Mossad’, Britannica). In addition, Mossad’s tasks are , whose military aspect is extremely effective and powerful compared to other intelligence organizations, is to protect the survival of the State of Israel, and to prevent the operations and attacks of Palestinian organizations such as the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas (Rabiger, 2003). Mossad was originally established with a similar structure to the CIA and MI6, but its difference from these intelligence agencies is that it has a school feature that educates people it has just recruited as a student (Yesevi, 2014).

MI6, also known as SIS, was created in 1909 to develop foreign intelligence as a result of the increase in German threats during the period. Basically, the activities of the structure established in the UK for the provision of overseas intelligence and the strengthening of the intelligence sphere were provided with a legal basis in 1994. It described its mission as ‘providing His Majesty’s Government with a global covert capability’ and also stated that the mission of its staff was built on protecting the country, its people and its interests (‘Our Mission’, Secret Intelligence Service). The way MI6 departs from other domestic security agencies is that it collects intelligence only from foreign countries due to its mission. In addition, it is only authorized to operate against people outside the UK, but its head is directly responsible to the UK Foreign Office (‘Intelligence Services Act 1994’,

The MSS was established in 1983 as a result of the unification of the counterintelligence elements of China’s security agencies. Due to the fact that its emblem consists of the emblem of the Communist Party of China, it is extremely independent of state institutions. In this regard, it operates as China’s foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, civilian intelligence and secret police agency it is known that the activities it carries out are extremely extensive and are of a global scale. (‘Ministry of State Security’, DBpedia) Its mission is to “ensure the security of the country through effective measures against enemy agents, spies and counter-revolutionary activities designed to sabotage, destabilize or overthrow China’s socialist system. “Its foundation has been made dependent on the law by the National Intelligence Law, which grants many legal powers to the MSS at home and abroad, which stipulates as.”

In Russia, the FSB, created in 1994 as one of the successor agencies of the KGB, has such tasks as counterintelligence, counterterrorism and surveillance of the military. In addition, the FSB is known as the national internal security organization. the KGB, which showed itself as an institution that stood up to various disintegrations in the 1980s, then entered into a dissolution with coup attempts that aginst the state. The FSB, formerly the Federal Counter-Intelligence Agency, was given powers to conduct intelligence activities both at home and abroad, with the naming of the FSB by Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1995, after the KGB began to disintegrate. Vladimir Putin, who became the head of the institution in 1998, increased his powers to combat organized crime and suppress Chechen separatists, and in this regard, the institution continued to conduct its activities as a full intelligence agency (‘Federal Security Service’, Britannica).


Intelligence, another side of the War of Independence, which the Turkish Nation won with various sacrifices and national integrity, was one of the important elements in this war. It is precisely during this period that the role played by various intelligence missions in winning the war is extremely great. After this period, with the understanding of the importance of intelligence, it became clear that this element was needed not only in wartime but also in peacetime, and it was thought that the intelligence elements that were needed should also be trained and become better. In this context, the ‘National Security Service’, the intelligence structure of Turkey, has emerged (‘Tarih Boyunca MİT’, Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı).

The National Security Service was established in 1926 as a military organization based in Ankara with branches in five different provinces. However, there have also been some changes in the intelligence structure of Turkey, which took a stand on the side of the United States during the Cold War and then joined NATO. At the time of its establishment, the structure of the organization consisted of structures such as the deputy of the Chieftain, Espinoyage, Counter-espionage and Technical Support, especially the Chieftain. However, with the changes introduced, two more structures were added (Yurdakul and Yalçın, 2004).

In addition, during the Cold War, there was cooperation between the United States and Turkey against the Soviet threat, and in this context, Turkey has become an important CIA base. Because of this, the CIA and the Millî Emniyet Hizmeti (the MAH i.e. ‘National Security Service’ was the name of Turkey’s intelligence organization between 1926 and 1965 when it changed its name to MIT) acted in cooperation during the period. In this cooperation, the United States was providing support to Turkey in terms of technology and intelligence for countries that it attaches great importance to (Kılıç, 2018).

In this difficult environment, Turkey needed an institution that would work in a more modern style and more effectively. In this regard, MAH was not able to demonstrate a full-fledged competence in intelligence (Ozkan, a.g.e., 2004: 208). In addition, there was no legal status of its employees. In this context, a commission was created and as a result of this, the name of MAH was determined as MIT along with a new law. Changes were also made to its structure, and the units and departments were updated and upgraded.

The duties of MIT are;

– To create national security intelligence throughout the State regarding the current and possible activities directed internally and externally against the country and nation of the Republic of Turkey and its integrity, existence, independence, security, constitutional order and all elements that make up its national power, To convey to the necessary institutions with the Secretary General of the National Security Council (NSC).

– In the preparation and execution of plans related to the national security policy of the state; To meet the intelligence requests and needs of the President, Prime Minister, Chief of General Staff, Secretary General of the NSC and relevant ministries.

 – To make proposals to the NSC and the Prime Minister (and to the President of the Republic of Turkey after the constitutionnal referendum and regime change of 2018) to direct the intelligence activities of public institutions and organizations.

 – To provide consultancy on technical issues and to assist in the coordination of intelligence and counter-intelligence activities of public institutions and organizations.

 – To convey the news and intelligence deemed necessary by the General Staff for the Armed Forces to the General Staff in accordance with the protocol to be signed.

 – To perform other duties to be determined by the NSC.

 – Countering intelligence (Resmi Gazete, 1983).


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Devlet İstihbarat Hizmetleri ve Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı Kanunu, Resmi Gazete, 3 Kasım 1983,Sayı 18210, Cilt 22, s. 830.

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