Turkey Arrests Israeli Couple for Photographing Erdogan's Istanbul Palace

The Israeli couple, charged with espionage, reportedly sent the photo to their family on WhatsApp, writing 'Look at Erdogan's house. See how beautiful it is'

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Turkish President Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat on the balcony of Huber Mansion in Istanbul, last month.
Turkish President Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat on the balcony of Huber Mansion in Istanbul, last month.Credit: Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters

An Israeli couple was arrested this week in Turkey on suspicion of espionage after photographing from a ferry boat the Istanbul residence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, their lawyer said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it is aware of the incident, which occurred on Tuesday, and that it is being dealt with.

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According to reports in Turkish media, they were not on ferry, but in a restaurant in Istanbul's Camlica Tower when they took the photograph. A waiter, according to the reports, reported them to the police.

The investigation was handed over to Turkey's counter-terrorism bureau, the reports said, adding the couple is expected to appear before court on Friday.

The sister of the woman who was arrested told the Ynet news site that the woman had sent the photograph to the family's chat group on the WhatsApp messaging service.

"They wrote 'Look at Erdogan's house. Look how beautiful it is,'" the sister recounted. The arrested couple have not been in touch with their family, the sister said, and a missing person complaint has been filed.

"The arrest of my clients is unnecessary," said Nir Yaslovitzh, an Israeli lawyer hired to deal with the matter.

"Their only offense involves their photographing Erdogan's palace during an innocent boat trip. This is a rare instance over which the Foreign Minister has to do everything that it can so that Israeli citizens don't find themselves under arrest beyond [Israel's] borders without any fault of their own," he added.

Media reports and Israeli officials did not specify which building the couple photographed.

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