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Israeli couple arrested in Turkey over photo of Erdogan’s home – report

‘They were supposed to return on Tuesday, and they suddenly disappeared,’ says relative; Foreign Ministry says it’s dealing with situation

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference at the G20 summit in Rome, on October 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference at the G20 summit in Rome, on October 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Two Israelis arrested this week in Turkey were reportedly picked up after taking a photo of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s home.

The couple, in their 40s from central Israel, traveled to Turkey to celebrate a birthday. They didn’t return to Israel on Tuesday as planned, alarming family members who couldn’t contact them, Channel 12 news reported Thursday.

They have since discovered that the couple was arrested after the woman filmed Erdogan’s home, likely not knowing it was illegal, and sent the photo in a family WhatsApp group with the caption: “Such a nice house.”

“We knew they were supposed to return on Tuesday, and they suddenly disappeared,” the arrested woman’s sister told Channel 12. “We are very worried.”

“My sister isn’t connected to any spy agency,” she added, referring to a Turkish report last month that said 15 men who allegedly spied for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency were arrested by authorities.

“We really hope they free her as soon as possible,” the sister said. “We have been asked not to talk and to play down the incident. We were sure they would free them quickly, but now we can’t keep silent. We are worried for my sister and brother-in-law.”

The report didn’t state whether the home the couple filmed was Erdogan’s official presidential palace or a recently unveiled extravagant summer palace, which drew widespread anger amid mass poverty in the country.

The Foreign Ministry has said it is aware of the situation and dealing with it, offering no further details.

A family relative told the Kan public broadcaster that, “No Israeli official has contacted us, so we do not know for sure what has happened.”

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