Turkey has arrested 15 suspects who have allegedly worked with the Israeli Mossad within its territory, the daily Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the suspects were arrested a month ago and have provided the Mossad with information on Turkish citizens and foreign students who study in the country.
The suspects provided information on students who will potentially work in the defense industry.
The pro-government daily also noted that the operation to arrest the suspects, who it said were all Arabs, was conducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) following a year-long counterintelligence operation.
Charges are expected to be pressed against the suspects, who were reported to have been divided into five cells, each comprised of three members.
The Daily Sabah said that they had been operating in four Turkish provinces and were all arrested during an MIT operation on the morning of October 7.
The suspects were monitored “for about a year, using technical and human-based intelligence methods,” during which time they engaged in espionage focused on Palestinians in Turkey, the paper added.
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“It was understood that the espionage network, which was recruited with money, shared the information it reached with the Mossad for tens of thousands of dollars and euros.”
Hamas has a command headquarters in Turkey.
Ankara’s relationship with Jerusalem has been rocky in recent years. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly tried to position himself as the defender of the Palestinians in the region and has launched fierce attacks against Israel's conduct during periods of armed conflict.
Last May, in a tweet, Erdogan sharply condemned "Israel's heinous attacks,” on the Palestinians during Operation Guardian of the Walls. He added that Turkey “will continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters in all circumstances.”
Last July, Erdogan called President Yitzhak Herzog and congratulated him on taking office. According to the President's Office, the two discussed options for cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism and technology, and for expanding economic ties between the countries.
The President's Office also said that "the presidents attach great importance to the continuation of contacts and continuous dialogue despite all the disagreements, in order to promote positive steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which will also contribute to improving relations between the states."