Turkish Interior Minister claims Israelis spied on Erdogan’s palace

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed on Tuesday that the Israeli couple arrested in Turkey for photographing the residence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were carrying out “political and military espionage”, adding that the case now depends on the judicial system to decide, according to Turkish Media.

Natali and Mordy Oaknin, Egged bus drivers living in Modi’in, took the photo of Erdogan’s palace while at the Camlica Tower, a television tower that opened earlier this year and is the tallest in Europe. . A waitress overheard them talking about it and reported them to the police.

Soylu also claimed that the couple photographed and marked the residence, prompting security forces to intervene. CNN Turk reported that three suspects in total were arrested in the case.

Turkish media reported that the couple shared the photo they took on a WhatsApp group and noted technical information about the tower.

The Turkish police recommended deporting the Oaknins and notified Israel of their plans. However, the prosecution asked to accuse the couple and a Turkish citizen who was with them of espionage. A court extended his preventive detention on Friday for at least 20 days, while the prosecution prepared his case for trial.

Turkish police officers in face masks, with the Byzantine-era monument of Hagia Sophia, now a museum, in the background, patrol in the tourist square of Sultanahmet after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, June 5, 2020 (credit: REUTERS / MURAD SEZER)

On Monday, Turkey authorized a visit by officials from the Israeli consulate in Istanbul to the couple, while a senior diplomat from the Foreign Ministry headed to Turkey on Monday to secure the release of the Israelis.

The case comes just weeks after the Turkish news agency Sabah claimed that a Mossad network of 15 Arabs had been captured by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT). Hamas-affiliated media had previously claimed that Palestinian spies worked for Mossad in Turkey.

According to the Sabah report, one of the five cells was in contact and meeting with Mossad officials and provided important information and documents for Israel. The Mossad received information about Turkish and foreign students in Turkey in exchange for a payment, according to Sabah.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.


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