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Monday, November 15, 2021 

Turkey holds Israeli couple hostage, no doubt for political extortion

Fraudulent premiere Nafatali Bennett's got quite a crisis on his hands, as an Israeli couple was arrested in Turkey for merely taking a picture of the palace where Recep Erdogan undeservedly resides in Istanbul:
Israeli officials believe the coming 48 hours will be critical in seeking to secure the release of an Israeli couple detained in Turkey on suspicion of espionage after photographing a presidential palace, according to television reports on Sunday.

Channel 12 and 13 both quoted officials as saying they believe that if the saga is not resolved in the next two days or three days, Natali and Mordy Oknin could remain in Turkish custody for years.

Turkish authorities detained the couple, residents of Modiin, on Thursday for photographing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace in Istanbul. The couple and their family insist they did not know it was illegal to do so.
It's clear this had political motivation to it, as noted in further detail below, and authorities must've identified the couple as Israeli, viewing them as easy prey. No thanks to Bennett and Yair Lapid's coup de'tat, of course.
Despite expectations that would be released, a Turkish court on Friday extended the couple’s remand by 20 days, with local authorities saying they suspected the Oknins of espionage.

Israel has firmly and formally rejected the allegation that the couple, both of whom are Egged bus drivers, are spies. [...]

The arrests came a day after a bill to recognize the Armenian genocide was presented before the Knesset plenum for a preliminary discussion. Similar bill proposals have been submitted dozens of times in recent years, without advancing toward becoming law, making it unlikely to be connected to the arrests.

The couple were detained after taking pictures from the observation deck of a high tower, a tourist site offering panoramic views of Istanbul, that also overlooks the palace.

Channel 13 reported that other Israelis have been snapping photos of the palace in Istanbul without incident.
So it's pretty apparent this was deliberate, no doubt for the purpose of extortion, and for all we know, Turkey could be doing this to sabotage local recognition of the Armenian Holocaust, despite what's assumed. Of course, it's also bound to be because Erdogan wants to get Israel to make more dhimmi concessions on Israel's safety.

A reporter for the Jerusalem Post says Israelis should avoid Turkey:
Don't go to Turkey.

That should be the government’s message to all Israelis if the Turkish authorities do not immediately release the Israeli couple Natali and Mordy Oaknin from custody for allegedly spying because they took a photo of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace from a tower across the street.

And if that is not enough to get the Turks to release the couple, then other, more strident actions should be considered.

Among them: embark on a campaign in other countries – the US, the UK, Germany – warning of what awaits tourists to Turkey if they take a selfie in front of a building about whose sensitivity they are unaware; sanctioning Turkish “charitable” organizations undermining Israel’s sovereignty in east Jerusalem; and even banning flights to and from Turkey.

Israel needs to send a message to Ankara that this type of behavior simply cannot be tolerated and that there is a price to pay. Because if Jerusalem does not act here with determination, then the Oaknins may end up sitting for months in a Turkish jail cell, just as Naama Issachar sat in a Russian jail for 10 months in 2019-2020, and was sentenced to seven and a half years for having some nine grams of marijuana in her luggage on a return trip from India to Israel via Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not necessarily looking for an Israeli to hold when Issachar fell into his lap – but once she did, he used her for leverage with Israel in an apparent effort to keep Jerusalem from extraditing Russian computer hacker Aleksey Burkov to the US (the High Court of Justice did ultimately order Burkov’s extradition).

The price Israel paid for Issachar’s release – Putin pardoned her just prior to the March 2020 election – was never made public, but speculation was rife, ranging from turning over ownership of church property in Jerusalem’s Old City to Russia, changing the route of the planned light rail in Ein Kerem to skirt property owned by the Russian Church, handing over parts of the “Russian Compound” in Jerusalem to Moscow, or maybe scaling back IAF actions at the time over Syrian airspace.

Erdogan is now apparently taking a page out of Putin’s playbook. If Israel does not take strong action to put an end to it, who knows when he may do so again? Just three weeks ago the Turks trumpeted that they had arrested a Mossad cell of 15 non-Israeli Arabs working with the Mossad. Fifteen men in October, an Israeli couple in November – who knows what December may bring?
The disaster is already happening. Of course it could've happened even if Benjamin Netanyahu was still premier. But the way Bennett/Lapid have been handling things is atrocious, and partly encouraged this terrible situation. Now, who knows how it'll turn out?

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