Turkey arrests UAE ‘spy’ after threats over Arab normalization with Israel

The arrest comes amid increasing tension between Ankara and Abu Dhabi after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to suspend relations when the Emiratis established official ties with Israel.

By Associated Press

Turkish intelligence arrested a man they say spied on Arabs in Turkey on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, a senior Turkish government official said Friday.

The arrest comes amid major tensions between Ankara and Abu Dhabi. In August, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to suspend diplomatic relations with the Gulf state after it announced it was establishing ties with Israel.

The suspect, who has not been identified, allegedly infiltrated expatriate Arab dissident and journalist groups in Turkey, the official told The Associated Press. He traveled to Turkey using the passport of an Arab country other than that of the UAE.

The man allegedly confessed to spying on Arab nationals and “provided a trove of documents” proving his affiliation with the UAE’s intelligence service, the official said.

The official provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government protocol.

Last year, Turkey arrested two other people on charges of spying on behalf of the UAE — which is Saudi Arabia’s closest Arab ally — including one who had allegedly arrived in Turkey shortly after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Authorities said at the time that they were investigating the possibility that the men could have been involved in his killing.