Turkey accuses three Syrians of spying for France

Syrian human rights activist Ahmed Katie - April 16, 2023 (Ahmed Katie/Facebook)

Syrian human rights activist Ahmed Katie - April 16, 2023 (Ahmed Katie/Facebook)


The Turkish Sabah newspaper reported that a security operation carried out by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) resulted in the arrest of three Syrians, including Syrian human rights activist Ahmed Katie, on charges of spying on behalf of France.

The newspaper stated on Tuesday, February 20, that Turkish Intelligence has recently executed an operation against spies of the French foreign intelligence service (DGSE), following its espionage activities against Israeli, Iranian, and Russian intelligence services.

Sabah newspaper mentioned that the Turkish Intelligence Service kept Ahmed Katie under step-by-step surveillance in Istanbul before arresting him in Bursa, a city approximately 131 kilometers away from Istanbul.

Turkey accused Katie, a human rights activist, of heading a three-person spy network, alleging his involvement in sharing fake documents and information internationally that condemn Turkey in relation to the torture of refugees trying to travel abroad.

Regarding the details of the arrest incident, the newspaper indicated that the intelligence services arrested Ahmed Katie, Hussam al-Nahar, and Ibrahim Shweish by Istanbul police before their departure from Turkey. It pointed out the Turkish intelligence’s awareness that Katie received an emergency visa from the French consulate in Istanbul based on instructions from French intelligence.

The newspaper also confirmed the transfer of the human rights activist and the two young men to prison.

The case

On November 27, 2023, human rights activist Ahmed Katie lost contact with his relatives. His wife previously reported to Enab Baladi that she had communicated with him before he left his workplace.

The activist’s wife mentioned that she attempted to understand the circumstances of the arrest by reaching out to various organizations, human rights groups, and government entities, without success.

On December 6, 2023, Syrian and Turkish activists held a conference in Istanbul to address the disappearance of the human rights activist and to demand security authorities disclose his unknown fate.

The conference was attended by numerous civil society organizations and Syrian and Turkish media institutions. Yıldız Önen, a coordinator for the Refugees’ Rights Association, Taha al-Ghazi, an activist in the field of refugee rights, and Ali Önen, an assistant director of the association, delivered the Refugees’ Protection Organization statement in both Turkish and Arabic.

The statement emphasized the demand for an expedited process and security pathways associated with investigations into the reason for Ahmed Katie’s disappearance.

On October 29, 2023, activist Katie posted on his Facebook page, indicating his complete cessation from media and human rights work due to the special circumstances and pressures he was undergoing at the time, until an appropriate environment and tools are available for him to continue his work, according to the post.

According to the latest statistics from the Turkish Presidency of Migration Management, there are 3,167,421 Syrian people currently residing in Turkey under temporary protection status.


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