The Turkish government says that Israel’s Mossad espionage service is using cryptocurrency to find spies in Turkey. It is said that the goal is to find and arrest Palestinians who live in the country.
The Financial Times reported that Turkey’s interior minister, Ali Yerlikay, said that 34 people suspected of being linked to Mossad had been arrested after raids across the country.
A top Turkish official said that the suspects in custody were involved in many operations and plans for the Mossad in Turkey. These included reconnaissance, surveillance, attack, and kidnapping. According to Reuters, these trainees were paid by the Mossad through middlemen, live couriers, and cryptocurrency, in order to hide where the money came from.
The official also said that Mossad put up job ads online with instructions on how to do things like take pictures of targets, put GPS devices on cars, and help Israeli agents with their “ultimate mission.” The suspects allegedly got training in another country from the Mossad and kept in touch with the spy agency on a regular basis through encrypted messaging services.
The raids were led by the Turkish government’s counter-terrorism and intelligence services. They seized €150,000 ($165,100), an unlicensed gun, and “digital materials” that were not made public.
This new development makes things even worse between both countries, which are already very tense because of the Gaza war. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey said that harsh actions would be taken if Israel tried to kill Hamas members in Turkey, who are not seen as terrorists by Turkey. The heated arguments between Erdoğan and Netanyahu, have made things even worse between the two countries.
Turkey says that Israel is spying on them, which is adding to worries that the war in the Middle East is getting worse. After Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri was killed in a drone strike in southern Beirut, Najib Mikati, the prime minister of Lebanon, said that Israel was trying to get Lebanon involved in a war in the area.
Concerns about the possibility of more fighting and geopolitical instability are raised by what is happening in the area.