Israeli Couple Arrested in Turkey for Photographing Erdogan’s House

The Presidential Complex in Istanbul, Turkey. (Metuboy)

Efforts were under way on Tuesday to secure the release of an Israeli couple who were arrested in Turkey for photographing the home of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Whereabouts of the couple, in their 40s, both bus drivers for Egged from Modi’in, only became known after the failed to return from their vacation and family members began to make inquiries.

They didn’t return to Israel on Tuesday as planned, and the family wasn’t able to contact them, Channel 12 news reported Thursday.

“My sister isn’t connected to any spy agency,” the woman’s sister said, referring to a Turkish report last month that said 15 men who allegedly spied for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency were arrested by authorities.

The two Israelis, on a birthday vacation, sent the photo in a family WhatsApp group with the caption: “Such a nice house,” apparently unaware that Turkish law forbids taking pictures of the president’s residence.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the case and is in contact with Turkish authorities, Ma’ariv reported, though Turkey has not officially confirmed the incident.

“Only after we started making noise and turning to the media did things start to happen.” “Until then, they just said that they are waiting for information and that they don’t know anything. “It was all up in the air.”

“The Foreign Ministry told us nothing except that they’re handling it.”

“We really hope they free her as soon as possible,” she said. “We have been asked not to talk and to play down the incident. We were sure they would free them quickly, but now we can’t keep silent. We are worried for my sister and brother-in-law.”

The couple’s lawyer sent a letter to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to request his intervention on their behalf, reported Channel 12 news on Thursday night.

An aide to President Isaac Herzog spoke with the family to see if there was anything he could do to help in the situation, according to Ynet.

The couple is reportedly slated to appear before a court in Turkey tomorrow.