Oct 17, 2020 05:45 UTC
  • The picture shows a courthouse in the city of Istanbul, Turkey.
    The picture shows a courthouse in the city of Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkey has arrested a man suspected of spying on foreign Arab nationals for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A senior Turkish security official anonymously told Reuters on Friday that the man had confessed to espionage and that Turkey’s intelligence officials had obtained “a trove of documents” from him showing affiliation with the UAE.

The man entered Turkey using a non-UAE passport and had “infiltrated Arab dissident and journalist networks for years,” the official said.

The identity of the suspected spy has not been disclosed.

Over the past few years, relations between Turkey and some of the Persian Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been particularly strained over foreign policy and attitudes toward the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Relations between Turkey on the one side and Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on the other began to deteriorate over a Saudi-led blockade on Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE severed ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017 over accusations of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, charges Qatar denied.

Last August, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was considering the full suspension of diplomatic relations with the UAE following the latter’s accord to normalize ties with the regime of Israel.

Moreover, Ankara and Abu Dhabi support rival parties in Libya’s war.

In April 2019, Turkey arrested another two alleged intelligence operatives who also confessed to spying on Arab nationals on behalf of the UAE. At the time, an official said one of them could be linked to the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Later that month, one of the suspects reportedly committed suicide in prison.

MG

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