SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 December 2021, Friday |

Turkey releases Israeli couple held over alleged espionage charge, Israel says

Turkey has released an Israeli couple detained on espionage charges for allegedly photographing President Tayyip Erdogan’s residence during a visit to Istanbul, Israel’s prime minister and foreign minister announced on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has denied the couple’s spying charges, claiming that they do not work for any Israeli agency. His government dispatched a senior emissary to Turkey to assist in the negotiations for their release.

“Mordi and Natali Oknin have been released from prison and are on their way home to Israel,” Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a joint statement.

“We thank Turkey’s President and his government for their cooperation and look forward to welcoming the couple home,” they said.

On Nov. 12, a Turkish court arrested the Israeli couple on espionage charges for photographing Erdogan’s residence from the Camlica Tower, an Istanbul telecommunications tower with observation decks, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

According to Anadolu, an employee tipped off the police after observing the couple photographing the residence from the tower’s restaurant.

According to the report, a Turkish national who was with the couple was also detained on suspicion of political and military espionage.