Israeli security forces evacuate Israelis from Turkey after threat


Staff member
Israeli security forces evacuate Israelis from Turkey after threat
Israel’s National Security Council issued its most severe travel warning for Turkey, putting it on the same level as war-torn states like Afghanistan and Yemen.
Published: JUNE 22, 2022

In a scene straight out of the espionage thriller Fauda, Israeli security forces evacuated Israeli citizens from their Istanbul hotel last week, allegedly ahead of an Iranian hit-squad that was intent on kidnapping or killing them. The real-life drama played out amid reports that the Iranians were targeting Israeli tourists in Istanbul as retaliation for last month’s murder of Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, a Revolutionary Guard colonel, which Iran has blamed on Israel.

But far from sowing panic, the evacuation order and subsequent warnings were met by confusion, and some apathy, on the ground in Turkey among both local Jews and Israelis visiting the country. The warnings come at a time when Turkish-Israeli relations are warmer — or at least less chilly — than they have been in over a decade. Earlier this year, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with his counterpart, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and last month, Turkey’s foreign minister traveled to Jerusalem to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid.

(Lapid had announced Sunday that he would be traveling to Ankara for another meeting this week but it is unclear whether the dissolution of the Israeli government and Lapid’s ascension to interim prime minister will affect those plans.)

Israel reportedly put off issuing the warning for some time in order to give Turkish authorities a chance to resolve the threat internally. Ultimately the evacuation was done in cooperation between Mossad and Turkish authorities, whom Prime Minister Bennett praised this week.