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Days after Turkish intelligence officials arrested a person suspected of spying on Arabs in Turkey for the benefit of the UAE, a high-ranking Turkish security official revealed information about the identity of the spy and his goals, as he worked to collect information on Arabs opposed to Abu Dhabi’s policies and the policies of their countries’ regimes.

Reuters quoted the Turkish official as saying that the spy who works for the Emirates and who was arrested about two weeks ago, is called Ahmed Mahmoud Ayyash Al-Astal, a Palestinian journalist who possesses a temporary Jordanian passport, referring to the person who confessed to his crime, according to Turk Press.

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 The agency stated that the client had submitted documents to the Turkish authorities proving his connection with the Emirati authorities, noting that the agent who collected many information about Arab opponents had infiltrated over the years through the networks of Arab journalists.

Many of the codes related to the identities of people who were working for the Emirati authorities have also been decoded.

For its part, “The Washington Post” said that Al-Astal, 45, of Palestinian origin, works as a journalist. He had confessed to working in the Emirates. He is also expected to appear in court this week, according to the Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. 

The official added that Al-Astal’s work, which is supervised by Emirati employees and knew them by pseudonyms, included reporting on Turkish political developments and monitoring Arab dissidents living in exile, while the UAE media spokesman did not respond to a letter requesting comment on the spy topic.

According to the American newspaper, Al-Astal lived on the coast of the Black Sea in Turkey and disappeared in late September, according to his family and colleagues, who were afraid of his kidnapping and launched a public campaign to persuade the Turkish authorities to investigate his disappearance. It is not believed that Ahmed, who lived in the UAE until his move to Turkey in 2013, was a spy or had anything to do with the Emirati government.

A summary of the findings of the Turkish intelligence services also indicated that Al-Astal – who was said to be known to the Emiratis as Abu Laila – was forced to spy for more than a decade, and the summary said that he initially refused an offer to work for the Emirati intelligence in 2008, but declined after failure. Background security checks when applying for a job.

The summary added that after Al-Astal moved to Turkey, he “focused on Turkey’s relations with the Islamic world, foreign policy initiatives and domestic politics,” and was assigned the task of determining whether the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which survived an attempted coup in 2016, is vulnerable to an attempt Other. 

The summary said that Al-Astal “transmitted information to the UAE about Arab journalists and dissidents residing in Turkey, who may be vulnerable to recruitment efforts by the Emirati intelligence,” including recordings of meetings with opposition members linked to the Brotherhood.

The American newspaper indicated that on at least one occasion, in the spring of 2016, an Emirati intelligence official visited Al-Astal in Turkey, but he communicated with his superiors remotely using chat programs in addition to the custom messaging programs that his handler installed on the al-Astal computer.

The summary did not mention how al-Astal caught the attention of Turkish intelligence, but the Turkish official said that al-Astal had been on the run for a few weeks before his arrest.

This is the third time during the past two years that Turkey has detained a person suspected of spying for the benefit of the UAE, as local media reports stated that two men were arrested in April 2019 who were collecting information on Palestinian factions in Turkey, and one of the men, Zaki Hassan, died while in detention in what the government described as a suicide. Seemingly.

It is worth noting that the Turkish National Intelligence Service arrested the Emirati spy al-Astal, last Friday, during an operation carried out by the agency, and the agent who recruited him, Abu Ali, was also monitored, and he was also working to publish data that would show Turkey in an internationally embarrassing situation, It also engages in espionage activities.