Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met Thursday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu following the thwarting of the attempted abduction of a former Israeli ambassador inIstanbul.
“In recent weeks, the lives of Israeli citizens have been saved thanks to security and diplomatic cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Just today it was published that Turkish intelligence recently foiled an Iranian plot in Istanbul. And these efforts are ongoing. We are full of appreciation for the Turkish government for this professional and coordinated activity,” Lapid said.
“Iran is behind these attempted terrorist attacks. The intelligence leaves no doubt about it. We’re not only talking about the murder of innocent Israeli tourists, but also a clear violation of Turkish sovereignty by Iranian terror. No country should tolerate terror on its soil. We are confident that Turkey knows how to respond to the Iranians on this matter. For its part, Israel won’t sit idly-by when there are attempts to harm its citizens in Israel and around the world.
“It is very important that in the coming weeks, we finish the process we began during your visit to Jerusalem - to allow Israeli airlines to fly directly to both Istanbul and the Turkish coast. In the last year, there was great progress in the relations between Israel and Türkiye. We began to hold discussions on returning Ambassadors in the near future, and on improving our economic and political dialogue. I hope we will complete these steps soon,” the Foreign Minister concluded.
Official media in Turkey on Thursday indicated that they have thwarted the abduction of a former Israeli ambassador and his wife, as well as several Israeli tourists, by an Iranian terror cell.
The Mossad has reportedly evacuated the Israelis back to Israel.
Turkish media also reported that authorities arrested 10 members of an Iranian intelligence cell who were planning the kidnapping and assassination.
The Iranians, members of the Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, were disguised as students, businessmen, and tourists. They were arrested at a hotel in the city, as well as three rented apartments.
Israelis have been warned repeatedly of the threat to their lives and safety if they remain in Istanbul, and have been urged to cancel all planned trips to Turkey for the time being.
Last week, Israel's National Security Council published a list of recommendations for Israelis who insist on remaining in Istanbul despite the warnings.
Also last week, security forces thwarted a terror attack.