Turkey claims it busted an alleged spy ring affiliated with the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, according to a Monday report from the pro-government Turkish paper Daily Sabah.
The seven alleged Mossad-affiliated spies reportedly belonged to a wider spy network consisting of 56 members across Turkey. While the paper did not reveal the exact identities of the individuals, they reportedly included Turkish and Syrian citizens, as well as Israeli Arabs.
Mossad reportedly dispatched the Arabic-speaking spies with the purpose of gathering “biographical intelligence” on foreign nationals residing in Turkey and identifying potential terrorism targets including senior members of the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.
It is unclear how the arrest of the alleged Mossad-affiliated spies will affect Turkish-Israeli relations. Meanwhile, there have been unconfirmed reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey soon.
Gallia Lindenstrauss, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, says such a potential top-level meeting would signal a revival of Turkish-Israeli ties.
“If true and such a meeting takes place, that means normalization steps embarked upon last year “will have exceeded all expectations,” Lindenstrauss said.
“Such a story about the spy ring is obviously an embarrassment, but if it remains unconfirmed with no practical actions or reactions on the part of Turkey, then bilateral relations can survive the negative shock,” she added.
This is not the first time Turkey has claimed it arrested alleged Mossad-affiliated spies. In November 2022, Turkish authorities arrested seven Turkish citizens accused of spying on behalf of the Jewish state and Mossad Intelligene.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.