Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced on Friday that the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Workplace ordered the detention of 15 individuals suspected of spying for Israel. The 15 arrested are half of a bigger group of 34 individuals suspected of espionage.
Yilmaz’s announcement says that the 15 suspects have been detained following an investigation by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Workplace for political or army espionage towards Türkiye. They’ve been referred to the Felony Court docket of Peace. He went on to say that eight of the suspects would handed over to the Provincial Immigration Administration for deportation.
Turkish Inside Minister Ali Yerlikaya elaborated that the suspects have been caught throughout a Turkish “MOLE” operation carried out by the nation’s intelligence companies in eight provinces, together with Istanbul. The suspects have been reported to have been finishing up espionage actions for the Israeli intelligence company generally known as Mossad, according to state-run media platform Anadolu. Yerlikaya asserts that the suspects have been working with the Israeli Intelligence Service to “uncover, assault, kidnap” overseas nationals residing in Turkey.
The arrests come amid Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza. Türkiye has historically stood in assist of Palestine, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticizing Israel’s “oppression of Turkey’s Palestinian brothers and sisters.” The nation started slowly rebuilding relations with Israel, however this halted after the October 7 Hamas attacks and Israel’s subsequent siege of Gaza. Erdogan reiterated Turkish assist of Palestine on the thirty ninth Ministerial Session of COMCEC, a standing group within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, stating, “we should show a really clear stance towards Israel’s insurance policies of depopulating Gaza. I wish to as soon as once more remind the Israeli directors, who pursue completely different ambitions, of the truth that Gaza is a Palestinian land”.
In December, Israeli media revealed recordings of safety officers saying that Israel was decided to eradicate Hamas leaders “in each location on the planet.” Israel’s International Ministry declined to touch upon these arrests and allegations.