Israelis detained indefinitely in Turkey for Erdogan palace photo


Staff member
Israelis detained indefinitely in Turkey for Erdogan palace photo
The couple were arrested on suspicion of espionage after photographing the palace of the president and sending them to a third party via WhatsApp.
Published: NOVEMBER 11, 2021

A Turkish court has indefinitely extended the remand of Natali and Mordy Oaknin, Israelis accused of spying after taking a photo of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace, as Israel denied they have any connection to official agencies. Police had recommended deporting them, notifying Israel of its plans, but then the prosecution asked that the couple, as well as a Turkish citizen who was with them, face charges of “political or military espionage,” according to Turkish media.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has gotten directly involved in the matter, but is trying to keep a low profile in order not to turn it into a crisis, a senior diplomatic source said on Saturday. The move toward spying charges against the Oaknins sparked widespread speculation in Hebrew media that Erdogan’s government could be using their case for political reasons, and could further deteriorate the poor state of relations between Jerusalem and Ankara that has lasted for over a decade.

Israel’s embassy in Ankara and consulate-general in Istanbul have been working in recent days to try to secure the Oaknins’ release, asking the Turkish authorities to allow an urgent visit. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog called the Oaknin family in Israel to reassure them.