Turkish authorities arrested Iranians suspected of planning attacks on Israeli tourists and businesspeople with pistols and silencers.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked Turkey on Thursday for helping foil an Iranian plot to harm Israelis in Istanbul and said the effort was still under way.
Turkish authorities arrested five Iranians suspected of planning attacks on Israelis ahead of Lapid’s visit, Turkish media reports said earlier in the day.
Lapid warned Israel would not “sit idly by’ in the face of threats to its citizens from Iran.
“The lives of Israeli citizens have been saved in recent weeks thanks to security and diplomatic cooperation between Israel and Turkey. These efforts are ongoing,” Lapid said during a visit to Turkey.
“We’re not only talking about the murder of innocent Israeli tourists, but also a clear violation of Turkish sovereignty by Iranian terror. We are confident that Turkey knows how to respond to the Iranians on this matter.”
Lapid arrived in Turkey on Thursday for talks with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu as the two countries press ahead with efforts to repair ties strained over Turkey’s strong support for the Palestinians.
Hurriyet newspaper reported Turkish authorities arrested five Iranian nationals on Wednesday suspected of involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate Israeli citizens in Istanbul.
Police seized two pistols and two silencers in searches conducted in houses and hotels where the suspects were staying, according to the report.
No immediate response from Iran was available.
Earlier this month, Israel issued a warning for its citizens to avoid travel to Turkey and urging Israelis in Turkey to leave immediately. The warning said Israeli citizens could be targets of Iranian attacks.
“For its part, Israel won’t sit idly by when there are attempts to harm its citizens in Israel and around the world. Our immediate goal is to bring about calm that will enable us to change the travel warning to [Turkey],” said Lapid.
The travel warning angered Turkey, whose economy depends on tourism to a large extent. Ankara responded by issuing a statement that said Turkey was a safe country.
Standing next to Lapid, Cavusoglu said Turkey “cannot permit these kinds of incidents taking place in our country”.
“We have delivered the necessary messages,” he said, without elaborating.
Iran and Israel have been…