Dismay in Jerusalem as Turkish interior minister calls Israeli couple spies


Staff member
Dismay in Jerusalem as Turkish interior minister calls Israeli couple spies
Consuls bring them supplies as prosecution prepares case for trial during 20-day remand.
Published: NOVEMBER 16, 2021

The ordeal of the Israeli couple jailed in Istanbul for photographing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s home seemed far from a resolution on Tuesday after a Turkish minister said that they will stand trial. “The couple photographed Erdogan’s home; they focused on the house and marked it,” Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a news conference. “The prosecutor’s office estimates that they committed a crime of military and political espionage, but the court will make the decision in the future.”

While Israel had hoped to resolve the matter and bring Natali and Mordi Oaknin home quickly, a diplomatic source in Jerusalem said that through diplomatic channels, Soylu’s public commitment to a court case means it will likely be a drawn-out affair. The Oaknins, Egged bus drivers who live in Modi’in, took the photo of Erdogan’s palace while in the Camlica Tower, the tallest tower in Europe that opened earlier this year. A waitress heard them talking about it and reported them to the police, who arrested them and a Turkish friend who accompanied them on their visit.

Israel’s consul in Istanbul, Ronen Levi, visited Natali, and Consul-General Udi Eitam visited Mordy on Tuesday. The diplomats also met with prison authorities to ensure the couple was being held in suitable living conditions. They gave them clothing and supplies.

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