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Turkey Arrests 34 Individuals Suspected of Spying for Israel

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Turkey has arrested thirty-four people accused of spying for Israel. Credit: Kafkasmurat / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Authorities in Turkey have arrested thirty-four people suspected of being linked to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, accusing the war-engaged country of plotting attacks against Palestinians living in Turkey.

Turkey arrests alleged spies linked to Israeli security services

The suspects were detained by Turkish intelligence agents and police in raids carried out in Istanbul and seven other provinces on Tuesday, January 2nd. Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya told the Financial Times that the operation was to thwart “international espionage activities.”

Yerlikaya continued: “The Israeli intelligence services intended to commit actions…on a tactical basis against foreign nationals residing in our country.”

The Turkish authorities are still trying to locate thirteen more people believed to have links to Israel’s security service, the Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday. Ankara has previously stated it will not allow Israel to attack Hamas inside Turkey’s borders.

“We will never allow espionage activities to be conducted against the national unity and solidarity of our country,” Yerlikaya posted on social media.

Details of the suspects and foreigners who were allegedly targeted have not been provided by Anadolu. Al Jazeera said the report of the arrests came weeks after the head of Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, said in an audio recording that his organization is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including Qatar, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously warned Israel of “serious consequences” if it continued attacking Hamas officials on Turkish soil. After years of tense relations, Turkey and Israel resumed diplomatic ties in 2022. However, the countries’ relationship began to go downhill during the Israel-Hamas war, with Ankara stepping forward as one of the most outspoken critics of Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Israel originally withdrew its diplomats from Turkey over security concerns and later said it was recalling its diplomats for political reasons, citing “increasingly harsh statements” from Turkish officials. Turkey also withdrew its ambassador from Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu. Credit: President of the Russian Federation / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

Erdogan has called for the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes, comparing his actions to those of Adolf Hitler.

The Turkish leader, whose administration has previously hosted Hamas officials, has also stated that Hamas is fighting for the liberation of its lands and people against Israel, according to Al Jazeera.

The recent detainments have come amid a slew of arrests by Turkish security forces. Approximately two weeks before the new year, around five hundred people suspected of having ties to ISIL , an armed Islamist group, were detained in raids across the country.

According to Al Jazeera, the detentions were thought to be part of a drive by Turkey’s security forces ahead of New Year festivities. An ISIL attack in Istanbul on January 1, 2017 killed thirty-nine people.

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