Turkey: UAE spies arrested. Khashoggi link probed
Published: April 20, 2019
Two people have been taken in custody in Turkey for allegedly spying for the United Arab Emirates and is also investigating if the suspects have any connection with the murder of the Saudi journalist. The Turkish media have labelled the arrested men as Intelligence operatives who were working for UAE and have been charged on accounts of political and military espionage.
Various surveillance images of both the men walking in Turkey. It is learnt that one of them had reached Turkey a few days after the murder of Khashoggi. It has also been reported that one of the two men arrested had arrived in Turkey a few days after the Khashoggi murder in the Saudi Consulate. The other man had come to help his colleague with the workload. Khashoggi was a known critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and had been murdered in the Saudi Consulate by Saudi operatives. The incident had led to an international outcry against the Prince.
The international agencies believed that the killing had been carried out by orders of the Crown Prince. The allegation has been outrightly denied by Saudi officials. The Turkish officials said that “We are investigating whether the primary individual’s arrival in Turkey was related to the Jamal Khashoggi murder. It is possible that there was an attempt to collect information about Arabs, including political dissidents, living in Turkey”.
The men have also admitted that they are recruited and are paid, informants. An encrypted computer was also seized by the Turkish government and it was said to be the base of the spy ring in Istanbul. The newspaper had said that the pair had been in touch with many people in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Diyarkabir. It is also alleged that one of the people was also in touch on phone with another one connected to the Khashoggi case. The Interior Ministry of Turkey declined to comment on the same.
It has been found that the men who have been arrested are not from UAE. The Qatari investment in Turkey is also under the lens as Doha and Turkey have been close allies ever since while UAE has been part of the quartet of the Arab countries which had imposed a complete blockade on Qatar. UAE is also a close ally of Saudi Arabia. Latter is said to have inducted nearly 11 people in connection with the Khashoggi murder and is said to seek the death penalty against five of them. Saudi Arabia had eventually reacted to the murder saying that Khashoggi had actually died in a botched operation designed for his return to Saudi.
Turkey has been leading the efforts to clear the case but has stated that there is an increased lack of cooperation from Saudi officials. US State Department also barred entry to 16 nationals from Saudi Arabia over their alleged role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.