Spies, Lost Jews and Pop Stars: The Israel-Turkey Love-hate Affair Goes Beyond Politics

Natali Oknin, the Israeli absurdly detained in Istanbul for spying, says she'll never return to Turkey. But despite yet another diplomatic crisis, this time wisely de-escalated, the cultural dialogue between Turkey, Jews and Israel is going through an unprecedented, and riveting, renaissance

Louis Fishman
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Louis Fishman

For a whole week, Israelis were glued to their TVs and screens, watching the ongoing saga of an Israeli couple arrested in Istanbul and accused of being spies.

It all started when a security guard at Istanbul’s latest tourist attraction, the Camlica Tower, informed the police that Natali and Mordi Oknin took a photo of one of the palatial residences of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The tower’s observation decks offer stunning, photogenic views of both the European and Asian neighborhoods of Istanbul.

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