Wednesday, 17 November 2021 | An Israeli couple detained in Turkey on espionage charges appealed on Tuesday a court decision to remand them in custody.
A court in Istanbul remanded the arrest of Natali and Mordy Oknin by 20 days on Friday for taking pictures of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s residence in Istanbul.
Natali Oknin met with an Israeli lawyer sent to represent her for the first time on Tuesday. The attorney delivered her bread, chocolate and cola. Oknin asked for the well-being of her children in Israel and thanked the people of Israel for their support.
Mrs. Oknin was separated from her husband and is being held in a women’s prison in Istanbul.
She was also visited by Israel’s consul general in Istanbul while her husband was visited by the Ankara-based ambassador.
The Foreign Ministry said the envoys spent a long time with the imprisoned Israelis, delivered personal items to them and ensured that the captives were held under proper conditions.
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the couple did not take photos of the presidential palace innocently and conspicuously focused on the property.
“They did not just photograph the house, they focused on it and even marked it,” Soylu said during a meeting with Mongolia’s defense minister, as reported by Turkish-language daily Cumhuriyet. “This can be called political and military espionage. Only the court will be the one to decide.”
Soylu is the first Turkish official to comment on the issue since the arrest of Natali and Mordy Oknin last week.
Israel has been working in recent days through various channels to bring about the release of Natal and Mordy, including Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] Director David Barnea, who has been deliberating with his Turkish counterpart.
So far, Turkish officials have not specified any demands for the couple’s release and added that they were examining Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s denial the Oknins had any connections to any Israeli intelligence agency.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported that an employee tipped off the police after seeing the couple take pictures of Erdogan’s residence from the Camlica Tower’s restaurant.
The report said that a Turkish national, who was with the couple at the time, was also arrested on suspicion of political and military espionage.
Posted on November 17, 2021
Photo Credit: Fatih Yürür/Unsplash
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