Turkish woman detained on suspicion of endangering national security

27 year old Ebru Ozkan was detained while leaving Ben Gurion Airport after a visit to Jerusalem.

June 15, 2018 14:11
2 minute read.
Turkish woman detained on suspicion of endangering national security

File photo of an EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo. (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has confirmed the arrest of a Turkish citizen on suspicion of endangering national security, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to the internal security agency, 27-year-old Ebru Ozkan was arrested by Israel Police at Ben-Gurion Airport and transferred to authorities on suspicion of endangering state security and for contacting terror organizations.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported she was arrested on June 11 while returning to Turkey with friends after a visit to Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Ozkan was referred by authorities to a military court and despite her lawyer’s objection had her arrest extended until June 21.

“My client was referred today to a military court in the city of Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv on charges of threatening Israel’s security and suspected affiliation with terrorist organizations,” her lawyer, Omar Khamayasa ,was quoted by the agency as saying.

Ozkan’s sister, Elif Ozkan, told Anadolu that her sister was being held in a detention center with no evidence or documents.

“It is unfair and unlawful for a woman to be detained in this way. It’s against human rights. Israel is approaching the issue politically. It’s an arbitrary detention,” she said.

Israel has arrested several Turkish citizens in the past year on security-related offenses.

In January, Cemil Tekeli, a Turkish citizen and a law lecturer, was arrested by the Shin Bet just before he was due to board a plane at Ben-Gurion Airport on suspicion of laundering money to Hamas using business in Turkey. He was deported to Turkey on February 11.

According to the Shin Bet, the operatives that Tekeli helped, most of whom were released during the Gilad Schalit prisoner-exchange deal, were all involved in terror attacks, which claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis.

In an interview with Anadolu shortly after he returned to Turkey, Tekeli accused Israel of torturing and drugging him during his month-long detention.

The fragile relations between Israel and Turkey have been increasingly strained in recent months as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a vocal critic of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, has intensified his rhetoric ahead of elections on June 24.

Following clashes on the Gaza-Israel border fence, which left more than 60 Palestinians dead last month, both Ankara and Jerusalem publicly humiliated each other’s envoys after they were recalled to their respective countries.

Turkey and Israel normalized ties two years ago after a six-year rupture when Ankara broke off relations with Jerusalem following a raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound ship trying to break the naval blockade of the Hamas-run enclave. Ten pro-Palestinian Turks were killed after they attacked the commandos.

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