Turkey’s leading newspaper, Daily Sabah, reported Wednesday on the arrest of seven Turkish citizens for allegedly spying on Palestinians for the Mossad.
According to the newspaper, the Istanbul police and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization detained 44 citizens in a joint operation. Of those, seven were arrested and charged with passing on information, about Palestinian expatriates living in Turkey to the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
Turkish authorities investigated several Istanbul-based consulting companies which offer private-investigation services. They said the Mossad paid suspects to run surveillance on individual Palestinians and on Palestinian NGOs working in Turkey.
According to the article, interrogations revealed that this work helped the Mossad to launch online defamation campaigns against Palestinians. The report also said that Turkish authorities are searching for an additional 13 suspects.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry did not comment on the report and no Israelis were arrested in the operation.
Israel and Turkey started to resume ties in August, after Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel in 2018 amid growing tensions
Conflict over Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and Israeli operations against terror groups in Gaza prompted Turkey to condemn Israel in 2021.
When the two nations announced resumption of ties in August, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the return of the ambassadors “is important to improving bilateral ties.”
“As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians,” he added.
According to Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, a Turkish scholar at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, Çavuşoğlu’s warning “is a very clear message to Israel, that normalization does not mean that you can act against Palestinians inside Turkish territory.”
Despite complaints by the Israeli government, Turkey allowed the Gaza-based ruling terrorist organization Hamas to establish an office in Istanbul. Ankara insisted the office is only for political purposes, but Israel says Hamas uses it to plan and direct terror operations.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.