Turkey arrests two suspected UAE spies over alleged links to Khashoggi murder

Turkish authorities have detained two suspects who confessed to spying on Arab nationals for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and investigate their relation to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, Reuters reported on Friday.

“We are investigating whether the primary individual’s arrival in Turkey was related to the Jamal Khashoggi murder,” Reuters quoted a Turkish official, who requested anonymity, as saying.

One of the operatives, who reportedly admitted to spying on Arab nationals for the UAE, came to Turkey days after Khashoggi was murdered on Oct. 2 inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, while the other arrived to assist his colleague, according to the official.

According to the official, the other alleged spy arrived in Turkey to assist his colleague and they have been tracked for the last six months.

The arrests were made in Istanbul on Monday as part of a counter-intelligence investigation. Turkish authorities confiscated an encrypted computer located in a hidden compartment at "the spy ring’s base", the official said.

The two men indicated that their intelligence operation targeted political exiles and students, Reuters quoted the official as saying.

Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. 

Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was killed by a 15-man Saudi squad sent from the kingdom. Saudi authorities say the men acted without authority.