Israeli couple arrested in Turkey on espionage charges

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Turkey’s official news agency reported that an Israeli couple was arrested for espionage late Friday after taking pictures of the Turkish presidential residence in Istanbul.

Anadolu news agency reported that a Turkish citizen was arrested. The police detained them after receiving information from an employee of the Camlica Radio and TV Tower in the Asian side of Istanbul.

An employee claimed that earlier this week they photographed the nearby home of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the tower’s restaurant.

They were formally arrested pending trial on charges of “political and military espionage” by an Istanbul court.

In a statement released late Friday night, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid denied that the couple worked for an “Israeli agency.” He said his department is in regular contact with the couple and is trying to arrange for their release.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz identified the couple as Natalie and Mordi Oknin. Citing their lawyer, they said they photographed the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace while sailing on a ferry. Parts of Dolmabahce, located on the European side of the city, are used as the presidential office.



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