In Turkey, authorities have arrested seven individuals on suspicion of providing information to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency for the purpose of tracking and monitoring local targets. The arrests were carried out in a collaborative effort between the police and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), with raids conducted in Istanbul and the province of Izmir, according to a report by the state news agency Anadolu on Friday. The suspects are accused of attempting to surveil and photograph designated targets, affix tracking devices to them, and gather other pertinent information on behalf of Mossad, as disclosed by unnamed security sources quoted by state broadcaster TRT.
The Turkish government has previously issued warnings to Israel regarding potential “serious consequences” should it pursue individuals associated with the Palestinian group Hamas residing outside Palestinian territories, including those in Turkey. TRT reported that Mossad was allegedly employing private investigators to monitor its targets, with claims of recruiting Palestinian and Syrian nationals in Turkey as part of an operation targeting foreigners residing in the country. Differing from its Western allies in not classifying Hamas as a “terrorist” organisation, Turkey remains critical of Israel’s actions, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza and consistently rebuking Western nations for their support of Tel Aviv’s initiatives.
This recent development follows a previous incident in which 34 individuals were detained by Turkish authorities on suspicions of espionage for Israel. The detainees were accused of planning various activities, including surveillance and the “pursuing, assaulting, and kidnapping” of foreign nationals living in Turkey. Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc had noted that the majority of the suspects faced charges related to “political or military espionage” on behalf of Israeli intelligence. The recent arrests on January 2 targeted individuals associated with the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, specifically focusing on Palestinian nationals and their families, according to a cited prosecution document by Anadolu.