On 19 April 2019 Turkish authorities arrested two men from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who are suspected of spying on Arab nationals. According to the press, the two suspects then confessed. The country is investigating whether there might be a link with the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed in October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Moreover, a Turkish official said that they would be brought to court after questioning.
Meanwhile, the two men are being kept in custody on international, political and military espionage charges after a court rule on Friday evening.
According to Al-Jazeera, the two men have been described as “intelligence operatives” for the UAE by a Turkish state-run agency, which cited judicial sources. The agency also released photographs and surveillance images of the two men.
Turkish authorities have been monitoring them for six months before the arrest. The official stated that they are investigating about their arrival in Turkey, seeking for a link with the journalist murder. As a matter of fact one of the two man arrived in October 2018, after Khashoggi’s death, while the other reached Turkey later to help the former who, probably, could not cope with the workload.
The official, who preferred to remain unknown, added that in all likelihood the two intelligence operatives were trying to collect information about Arabs nationals, including political dissidents in Turkey. Consequently, he confirmed that the men confessed they had recruit and paid informants.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) condemns an alleged infiltration from the United Arab Emirates in the Khashoggi’s case. Furthermore, it calls upon the Saudi government to hold accountable those who are responsible for the killing.
UPDATE: suspected UAE spy arrested in Turkey committed suicide
On 29 April 2019, one of the two man arrested for alleged spying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, hanged himself in his prison cell and died.
The man was detained in solitary confinement. Turkish authorities are investigating on how he managed to commit suicide. However, the Justice Ministry said he believes the man used his own clothes to hang himself.
The two men revealed to be Palestinians citizens and they admitted they were working for the UAE intelligence. According to Aljazeera, there are suspects they were spying on Muslim Brotherhood members living in Turkey.
It is still not clear if they were involved in the Khashoggi’s case.