Mordy and Natali Oknin  before their arrest in Istanbul

Bennett says Israelis held in Turkey 'innocent,' entangled in 'complex situation'

PM says efforts continue at the highest levels to secure the release of Natalie and Mordy Oknin, who are facing espionage charges for taking pictures of Erdogan's house, declaring they have no affiliation to any Israeli organization

Ynet, Reuters |
Updated: 11.14.21, 12:25
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said an Israeli couple arrested in Turkey over presidential palace snaps were innocent and had mistakenly gotten into a "complex situation".
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  • Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Bennett said he spoke to Mordy and Natali Oknin, who have been detained by Turkish security forces last week after taking photographs of the Istanbul residence of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
    2 View gallery
    טסים לאיסטנבול אחרי המעצר של הזוג הישראלי
    טסים לאיסטנבול אחרי המעצר של הזוג הישראלי
    Mordy and Natali Oknin before their arrest in Istanbul
    (Photo: Facebook)
    Bennett met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, head of the National Security Council and other senior officials ahead of the meeting to discuss Israel's efforts to bring about a speedy release of the couple, who are facing charges of espionage.
    The prime minister said that he had spoken to the couple's family and asked them to remain strong. He also updated them on the efforts being made to bring them back to Israel.
    He added the couple "do not work for any Israeli agency".
    "The most senior echelons in Israel dealt with this issue throughout the weekend, led by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and will continue to work tirelessly with the aim of finding a solution as soon as possible," he said.
    2 View gallery
    נטלי ומורדי אוקנין הישראלים שצילמו את ארמונו של ארדואן יוצאים מבית המשפט באיסטנבול, טורקיה
    נטלי ומורדי אוקנין הישראלים שצילמו את ארמונו של ארדואן יוצאים מבית המשפט באיסטנבול, טורקיה
    Mordy and Natali Oknin being led out of court after they were remanded in custody for an additional 20 days, on Friday
    (Photo: Takvim)
    A Turkish court arrested the Israeli couple on Friday for taking photographs of Erdogan's residence from the Camlica Tower, a telecommunications tower in Istanbul with observation decks.
    Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency reported an employee tipped off the police after seeing the couple take pictures of Erdogan's residence from the tower's restaurant.
    It said a Turkish national, who was with the couple, was also arrested on suspicion of political and military espionage.


    First published: 12:02, 11.14.21
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