Turkey arrests seven suspected of selling information to Israel’s Mossad

Turkey has warned Israel of ‘serious consequences’ if it tries to hunt down Hamas members inside its borders.

A Turkish police armoured vehicle
A Turkish police armoured vehicle in Istanbul, Turkey [Dilara Senkaya/Reuters]

Police in Turkey have arrested seven people on suspicion of selling information to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency related to tracking and monitoring local targets.

The suspects were taken into custody in a joint operation of police and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) following raids in Istanbul and the Aegean province of Izmir, state news agency Anadolu reported on Friday.

They are believed to have attempted to monitor and photograph the targets, place tracking devices on them and gain other information for Mossad, state broadcaster TRT reported quoting unnamed security sources.

Ankara has previously warned Israel of “serious consequences” if it tries to hunt down members of the Palestinian group Hamas living outside Palestinian territories, including in Turkey.

The head of Israel’s domestic Shin Bet security agency said in December that his organisation was prepared to target Hamas anywhere, including in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

MIT had determined that Mossad was using private detectives to follow its targets, according to TRT. Mossad is alleged to have recruited Palestinian and Syrian nationals in Turkey as part of an operation against foreigners living in the country.

Turkey, unlike its Western allies, does not classify Hamas as a “terrorist” organisation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Israel for its war in Gaza and has repeatedly criticised Western countries for supporting Tel Aviv’s campaign.

Last month, 34 people were detained by Turkish police on suspicion of spying for Israel. They were accused of planning to carry out activities, including surveillance and “pursuing, assaulting and kidnapping” foreign nationals living in Turkey.

At the time, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said most of the suspects were charged with committing “political or military espionage” on behalf of Israeli intelligence.

Following the January 2 arrests, Anadolu cited a prosecution document as saying the operation targeted “Palestinian nationals and their families … within the scope of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies