Israeli diplomats visit couple jailed for 'spying on Erdoğan's home'

Israeli diplomats on Nov. 16 paid a visit to an Israeli couple who were jailed last week over espionage charges after they took pictures of President Erdoğan's home in Istanbul's Çamlıca.

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Israeli diplomats on Nov. 16 visited the Israeli couple Natali and Mordy Oknin in jail who were arrested last week for taking pictures of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's home in Istanbul's Çamlıca, Ajans Bizim new agency reported.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Israel’s consul in Istanbul, Ronen Levy, visited Natali Oknin, while the consul-general in Turkey, Udi Eitam, visited her husband Mordy Oknin. The diplomats brought the couple clothes and other supplies.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Israeli diplomats paid a visit to the jail to the couple to confirm that they were given appropriate accommodations.

The Oknins and a Turkish national were arrested on Nov. 12 over "political and military espionage” charges after someone working at the Çamlıca Tower complained to authorities that they were taking pictures of Erdoğan's residence and showing them to each other. 

In the first official comment on the matter from Turkish authorities, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 16 that the couple “focused” on Erdoğan's residence while photographing it and “marked it.”

“With the information in hand, the issue has been passed to the prosecutor's office. At this point, the prosecutor's office made an evaluation within the framework of law, and an arrest has been made. After this point, it is the court phase. There is an evaluation which we can call a crime of 'political and military espionage.' The court will make its own decision in the upcoming period,” Soylu said.

Israel has firmly and formally rejected the accusation that the Oknins are Israeli spies.