ISTANBUL (AP) — A French woman and a German woman have been detained in Turkey, part of a group of five that local media say was taken into custody for encouraging refugees to cross into the European Union.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the group, which also included three Syrians, was detained on Monday after indications they were "provoking" migrants. Late Tuesday the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper said the group was part of a plot to encourage refugees to cross Turkey's border with the EU. In an English-language report that cited unnamed security sources and carried copies of the pair's identity documents, the paper accused Charlotte Lecaille and Nora Sophia Freitag of working for French and German intelligence, respectively.
The spying allegations drew a laugh from the father of Charlotte Lecaille.
"The idea wouldn't even occur to her," Jean-Luc Lecaille said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his home in northern France.
He said his daughter taught French and was in process of setting up a school in Turkey.
"We have no idea what's going on," he said. "Absolutely no idea."
French officials declined comment. German officials said their diplomats were in touch with Turkish authorities. Contact information for Freitag couldn't immediately be located.
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphae.li