An agent who introduced himself as A.Z reportedly told one of the arrested suspects that a close friend of his was working for the European Union and wanted “to help Palestine.”
By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News
The 15 alleged Mossad spies who were arrested in Turkey on Thursday have confessed to espionage charges, the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported Friday morning.
Citing a statement issued by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the Sabah report included new information acquired by Turkish authorities while interrogating the suspected agents.
One of the arrested agents, identified in the report as M.A.S, reportedly told interrogators that Mossad agents first contacted him in late 2018, while he was working as a student consultant in Istanbul.
“I provided them with information about Palestinian students and organizations,” he reportedly said, adding that his handler, an agent who introduced himself as A.Z, told him that a close friend of his was working for the European Union and wanted “to help Palestine.”
As per his handler’s request, M.A.S conducted a comprehensive study about Palestinian students enrolled in Turkish universities, including special programs and other opportunities provided to them by the Turkish government.
This arrangement lasted for about 3 years, according to the testimony provided by M.A.S.
Then, in 2021, M.A.S was told to meet A.Z for a face-to-face meeting that would take place in Zurich. “I didn’t have a visa,” he said. “They took care of that within the hour.” He described how A.Z greeted him at the airport in Zurich before going to a nearby hotel for their meeting. “I was given 2,000 Euros and I gave him all of the information I had. They taught me how to encrypt messages.”
If confirmed, the testimony provided by M.A.S sheds a new light on the incident, suggesting that the 15 arrested agents may not have been aware that the information they were gathering was reaching the Israeli Mossad.
Other reports, however, seem to contradict this theory. A report published Friday by the Palestinian news agency Shehab and cited by Haaretz indicates that seven of those arrested in Turkey were Palestinian intelligence officers who had gone missing one after the other since early September.
According to the report, four of them were originally from the Gaza Strip and three from Judea and Samaria.
Turkish officials have yet to respond to the report.
According to Kan News, the Turkish government is not currently blaming or threatening Israel for the incident, which may suggest that the Turkish government looking for a different diplomatic approach toward Israel.
Turkish officials have recently expressed disappointment with Israel for not responding to requests to upgrade the diplomatic relations between the countries, Kan reported. “You need two for tango – and right now, Israel is refusing to dance,” officials close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Kan.