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Turkey detains 7 suspected of spying for Israel

Turkish police have detained seven people suspected of selling information to the Israel spy agency Mossad.

The suspects were taken into custody on Tuesday during simultaneous raids in Istanbul, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X. The detentions are the latest in a wave of such arrests in Turkey.

The detainees are suspected of collecting data on individuals and companies in Turkey and selling it to the Israeli intelligence agency, Yerlikaya said. The raids were a joint operation with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

“We will never allow espionage activities to be carried out within the borders of our country. We will catch them one by one and bring them to justice,” Yerlikaya insisted.

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A video released by the Minister of the Interior showed police raiding homes in Istanbul and apparently seizing guns, drugs and electronic devices. It was not immediately known if any charges had been issued and the authorities provided no additional information.

Israel did not immediately comment on the operation. Last month, seven other people were arrested on similar grounds, while in early January, 34 people were detained by Turkish police on suspicion of spying for Israel.

The suspects arrested in January have been accused of planning to carry out activities including reconnaissance and “pursuing, assaulting and kidnapping” foreign nationals living in Turkey.

At the time, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said most of the suspects were charged with committing “political or military espionage” on behalf of Israeli intelligence.

The state-run Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed security officials, said those detained on Tuesday included a former civil servant currently working as a private detective, who was allegedly trained by Mossad in Belgrade, Serbia.

He reportedly collected information on Middle Eastern companies and individuals, and placed tracking devices in vehicles of people targeted by Israeli intelligence.

He received payments in cryptocurrency that did not appear in official records, MIT said.

Following years of tension, Turkey and Israel normalised ties in 2022 and reappointed ambassadors. However, the resumed quickly deteriorated with the start of the Israel-Hamas war, with Ankara one of the strongest critics of Tel Aviv’s military campaign in Gaza.

 

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