Istanbul police arrested Friday four Iranian citizens on suspicion of espionage, forgery of official documents and human trafficking.
Teams of the local police department's Anti-Immigrant Smuggling and Border Gates Branch recovered 167 Turkish and foreign passports, most of them stolen, as well as other identification documents, driver's licenses and spying equipment.
Police made the arrests and recovered the documents from a house in the city's Esenyurt district following a tip-off regarding human trafficking and forgery.
The four Iranian nationals, identified by their initials J.B., P.A., M.M. and F.S., were also arrested from the address.
During a search of the house, law enforcers discovered a trove of illegal documents. They found 67 Turkish passports, of which 58 were stolen, 110 foreign passports, 51 of them stolen, six driver's licenses, 20 national identity cards, six Turkish residence permits, national identity cards of 20 different countries and six fake identity cards ready to be printed.
There were also driver's licenses from 13 countries, residence permits from nine countries, as well as entry and exit stamps from different countries.
The operation also found a fake Republic of Turkey green passport issued in the name of the suspect F.S.
In a detailed examination carried out within the scope of the operation, a collection of spying equipment, like listening devices, hidden cameras and scanners to detect listening devices were also recovered seized.
The owner of the residence, F.S., claimed in his statement that he had rented his house for the day and had nothing to do with the forged documents.
Regarding the seized spying devices, he claimed that he was married but had another relationship and that his wife might have put the devices to catch him.
F.S. also denied knowledge of the fake green passport bearing his name and photograph, claiming he was seeing it for the first time.
M.M., who was found to have entered the country illegally, claimed that she entered Turkey legally and that his husband F.S.' statement on the spying devices did not reflect the truth.
J.P. and his wife P.A., on the other hand, were found to have entered Turkey in an interval of two days. They claimed to have come on their honeymoon and denied any knowledge of the passports and devices.
The suspects were transferred to the courthouse after procedures at the police station. They were arrested on charges of human trafficking, forgery of official documents and providing confidential state information for political and military espionage."