Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 May 2020

Mystery and myth surround ‘two spies’ arrested in Istanbul

In the absence of any firm facts, rampant speculation has filled the void

Turkish media outlets have run a number of contradictory stories about two men reportedly held on suspicion of spying.

Turkish state-run Anadolu News Agency reported on Friday that two “alleged intelligence operatives” had been arrested in Istanbul for spying on behalf of the UAE, after a joint police and intelligence operation.

It said the pair were remanded in custody while espionage charges were investigated.

The pro-government Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, said the two men who were arrested were UAE citizens, while other outlets have reported they are Palestinians.

State broadcaster TRT Haber cited unnamed sources saying the men were working to identify Arab students and “political dissidents”, but gave few other details.

Multiple reporters for the outlet’s English-language version, TRT World, said on social media that officials were linking the pair to exiled Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan, who resides in the UAE, although the website’s own stories made no mention of the claim. The tweets also gave no indication of what or why he would be involved in an espionage plot in Turkey.

Turkish state-linked and government outlets also ran images of the two men – one of each of them standing in front of a Turkish flag and another of the two of them walking down an unidentified street, although the pictures looked grainy and manipulated.

No reports have corroborated the names, ages, nationalities or backgrounds of the two men.

They simply say that one man travelled to Turkey several months ago and was joined a short time later by the other.

Updated: April 20, 2019 11:37 PM



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