The Oknin couple
The Oknin couple Facebook

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Tuesday accused the Israeli couple who were arrested for taking pictures of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's palace in Istanbul of "political and military espionage."

"The courts will decide" their fate, Soylu added.

The accusation comes as Israel is attempting to negotiate the couple's release through diplomatic channels.

Israel maintains that Natali and Mordy Oknin are innocent civilians and rejects the Turkish government's claims that they engaged in espionage.

Experts warn that if the couple is not released in the coming days, the chances that they face trial and many years in prison will increase greatly. Minister Soylu's comments appear to signal that a release is not imminent.