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Turkey arrests 44 people with links to Mossad for spying on Palestinians: Report

The Turkish police have arrested 44 people suspected of working for Israel’s Mossad spy agency to collect information on the Palestinians living in Turkey, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Daily Sabah said the suspects pretended to work as private consultants, but their real mission was to monitor Palestinian individuals and groups and NGOs managed by Palestinians.

The report said the people received money from Mossad to spy on Palestinian targets and pass over information to Israeli operatives.

According to the paper, one of the main suspects, named ‘IY’, started a private detective association in Turkey in the mid-2000s and is currently the director of the private detective company.

Earlier this year, Turkey and Israel moved to restore diplomatic relations in principle after years of tension over a host of issues.

Certain regional developments brought Turkey and Israel closer to each other. Eventually, ambassadors were appointed in August.

And in September, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey met with the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in New York. It was the first meeting with an Israeli prime minister since Ehud Olmert visited Ankara in 2008.

Last month, Erdogan said he planned to visit the occupied territories after the November 1 elections, and that Turkey would maintain good relations based on mutual interests, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

Israel has long demanded the expulsion of the leaders of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as a precondition for establishing close relations with Ankara, but it eventually abandoned the demand.

In October 2021, the Turkish intelligence agency MIT arrested 15 men accused of spying for Mossad. Two of the detainees said they were arrested on charges of “espionage and working for Mossad to gather information on Palestinian citizens living in Turkey.”

Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador in 2018 over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests on the border separating the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories against the opening of the US Embassy in al-Quds.

At the time, Erdogan condemned Israel for carrying out “genocide” and behaving like a “terrorist” regime. While the Turkish government declared three-day national mourning over the carnage, Tel Aviv expelled the Turkish ambassador in a tit-for-tat move.

In May 2010, diplomatic relations between the two significantly deteriorated when Israeli commandoes boarded the pro-Palestine Gaza-bound Mavi-Marmara flotilla. Ten Turkish citizens were killed by the Israeli troops.

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