A Turkish court decided late last week to formally arrest 15 people and deport eight others suspected of being linked to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and allegedly targeting Palestinians living in Turkey.
Turkish authorities arrested 34 people earlier last week after warning Israel of “serious consequences” if it tried to hunt down Hamas members living in Turkey.
There are currently no details on the court’s decision regarding the remaining 11 people originally detained.
Turkey, unlike most of its Western allies and some Arab countries, does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization – instead, Turkish leaders have repeatedly expressed support for the Palestinian cause since Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
Police raided eight provinces to arrest the suspected Israeli agents as part of an investigation by the MIT intelligence agency and the Istanbul prosecutor’s anti-terrorism office.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the arrests, the Times of Israel reported.
“The butcher of Gaza”
Last month, several media outlets reported that Israeli intelligence had begun targeting Hamas officials for assassination around the world. Israeli officials have openly declared their intention to kill Hamas members “anywhere” in the world – including Turkey.
Turkish leaders responded by warning Israel of “serious consequences” if it attempted to kill Palestinians on Turkish soil.
🎥 Turkish police arrested 33 people across Istanbul and seven provinces, accusing them of spying for Israel.
The charges specifically cite "carrying out international espionage activities" with Mossad pic.twitter.com/RKT0ElyuUa
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) January 3, 2024
Since 2022, it has been revealed that several Mossad cells are operating in Turkey – the latest revelation came last July when Turkey arrested seven Arabs allegedly working for Mossad with targets in Lebanon and Syria.
It should also be noted that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently launched harsh verbal attacks on Israel, calling it a “terror state” and referring to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the “butcher of Gaza. He has referred to Hamas as “freedom fighters”.