Turkey has detained 15 people on its soil who are suspected of cooperating with Israel’s Mossad intelligence organization, according to the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.
According to the report, 200 members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) took part in a dramatic operation on October 7 that revealed five espionage cells that had been operating for a year in four Turkish districts.
The tabloid also claimed that all of the suspects were Arabs and provided images of some of them that were blurred out.
The suspects allegedly provided the Mossad with information on foreign students who could potentially work in the defense industry in the future in exchange for money, as well as spying on Palestinian organizations functioning in the country, according to the pro-government daily.
According to the article, one of the spy ring’s main cogs, named only by his initials AB, entered Turkey in 2015 and was in communication with a “field agent with an Israeli passport linked to the Mossad” who was paid $10,000 a year for his services.
Although Turkish police declared him missing in June, allowing the spy cell to continue operating unhindered, Sabah said that Turkish intelligence was already watching him at the time.
Another suspect had been reported missing in the past. In late June, he travelled to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, where he allegedly met Mossad agents. Another member of the cell is claimed to have traveled to Zurich, Switzerland, twice to meet with Mossad agents. Like the others, he was reported missing.
Officials in Turkey claimed that this was the country’s largest intelligence operation since the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi, which was blamed on Saudi Arabia.