Israel holds Turkish woman on suspicion of security offences

Turkish national Ebru Özkan has been arrested in Israel on suspicion of security offences, an Israeli official said on Thursday, according to a report by Reuters.

The 27-year-old is “suspected of endangering national security and contacts with terrorist organizations,” the official told Reuters. The official declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the woman’s arrest or whether she had been assigned a lawyer ahead of any court proceedings.

Israeli authorities have extended the arrest of Özkan until June 21. Özkan was arrested by Israeli police on June 11 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv as she was returning to Turkey. The Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv said it was closely following the situation.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) quoted a lawyer for the woman as saying she was suspected of affiliation with a terrorist organization.

Ebru Özkan’s sister Elif Özkan told AA that she is accused of posing a security threat and membership in a terrorist organization and is being kept at a detention center with no evidence or documents. “We could not contact my sister at all. We could not even make a phone call. Even her lawyer could not speak to her, even though he was in court. The lawyer will meet with her on Monday,” said Elif Özkan.

“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 added.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have often been tense in the past few years. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, an issue that resonates with many Turks, including the nationalist and religious voters who form the base of his support.

Turkey is holding presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.

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