Officials fear the arrest of two Israelis in Turkey for photographing its president’s palace was politically motivated, Walla news reports.
Israel has not received an explanation from Turkish officials for the arrest and detention of the couple, Mordy and Natali Oknin, and increasingly suspect the arrests were made for political gain.
The Foreign Ministry still hopes the standoff can be solved through Israel’s consulate, without political actors getting involved.
“But right now, it doesn’t look good,” a senior official says.
The Oknin’s Israeli lawyer reports ongoing efforts to free the couple after meetings in Istanbul, but no breakthroughs.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is leading the effort to secure the couple’s release and is in talks with Israel’s consular representative in Ankara. President Isaac Herzog is also involved and has spoken with the couple’s family.
Officials say the couple’s detention was remanded by 20 days by security officials, not police, suggesting political interference.
Israeli officials in Turkey have not been allowed to visit the couple.
The Ynet news site reports that the incident is not making waves in Turkey and local media, which may lessen pressure on the government there to exploit the arrest.
The report says visitors to the same tower where the couple photographed the palace continued to visit and take photos without a problem.