On Thursday, an Israeli couple vacationing in Turkey was arrested on likely spurious charges of spying for the Mossad; the next day a judge remanded them to twenty days in jail while their case awaits a resolution. Israeli officials, meanwhile, have interceded with Ankara to have them released. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak writes:
In retrospect, the timing of the couple’s arrest is no coincidence. Just one month ago, . . . fifteen Palestinians were arrested by the Turkish intelligence agency for allegedly spying for the Mossad. . . . It’s no secret that over the years, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a political fortune back home by starting crises with non-Muslim states, and Israel in particular. This is how he has succeeded in distracting the Turkish public from the burning domestic issues of the day. Erdogan knows all too well that public support for him today is at an unprecedented low: for the first time, he and his nationalist allies are not leading the “anyone-but-Erdogan” alliance in the polls.
The main reason for this shift is the lira’s depreciation against the dollar; [the exchange rate] reached an all-time low of ten liras to the dollar on the day the court extended the Israeli couple’s detention. Israel must therefore be very cautious and creative in order not to serve Erdogan’s propaganda interests. Jerusalem must do everything in its power to bring about the release of the innocent couple, including by making use of its ties in Washington and Berlin.