Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that his government is working to release an Israeli couple detained in Turkey, denying accusations made by Turkish state media that they are spies.
Bennett said – in a statement – that he spoke with the family of the Israelis, Natalie and Modi Oknin, and briefed them on the efforts being made to return them to Israel, stressing that the two “do not work for any Israeli entity.”
He added that officials at the highest level in Israel dealt with this issue throughout the weekend, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will continue to work tirelessly with the aim of finding a solution as quickly as possible.
Anadolu Agency previously revealed that the couple was arrested on Friday on spying charges, for taking pictures of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s residence from the Camlica Tower, a telecom tower in Istanbul that includes city-watching sites.
The agency said that one of the employees notified the police after he saw the two take pictures of Erdogan’s residence from the Burj restaurant.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been tense, especially since the two ambassadors were withdrawn in 2018, after the killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.