Turkey jails eleven officers over wiretapping scandal

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen's Hizmet Movement of attempting to run a 'parallel state' to undermine the government.

Turkey jails eleven officers over wiretapping scandal

World Bulletin / News Desk

Eleven Turkish police officers have been jailed by an Istanbul court after being found guilty of espionage against the state on behalf of a shadowy organization led by US-based congregational leader Fethullah Gulen.

So far 31 police officers have been formally detained for wiretapping prominent figures in Turkey, including statesmen, and thus harming national security.

Judge Islam Cicek gave his ruling based on evidence presented by the prosecutor investigating the case.

Former chief of Istanbul's anti-terror police department, Yurt Atayun, and former director of the Istanbul Police Department's Intelligence Unit, Ali Fuat Yilmazer, are among those detained for the alleged wiretapping incidents.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused Fethullah Gulen's Hizmet Movement of attempting to run a 'parallel state' to undermine the government, said: "There were some suspicions about him [Yilmazer] back then, but they were not that serious. Right now he puts on a show with his handcuffs. He is involved in every illegal affair of the Gulen Movement's Istanbul wing."

Turkey's Interior Ministry's Supreme Disciplinary Board recently dismissed 40 police officials who were accused of working for the 'parallel state,' including Ali Ihsan Kaya, the former director of intelligence.

'PARALLEL STATE'

Prime Minister Erdogan has led a purge on the police force since operations on December 17 targeting his allies raised the alarms of corruption and bribery within his AK Party-led government.

A separate operation which saw Turkish security forces raid a truck owned by the Turkish intelligence agency MIT while on its way to Syria in Turkey's Adana also increased accusations against the Hizmet Movement.

In April, a top secret meeting between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, MIT chief Hakan Fidan and the army's second-in-demand was leaked on to the internet, prompting a temporary ban on video-sharing website Youtube.

Another scandal was exposed when it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens had had their telephones tapped illegally.

The scandal was taken to new lengths when listening devices were found hidden in plugs in the Prime Minister's office.

Erdogan has indicated that Turkey may request Gulen's deportation from the US to Turkey to face questioning regarding allegations of his role in leading a spy ring which has not only infiltrated the police force, but also the judiciary and the government itself.

Fethullah Gulen went into self-imposed exile in 1999 in the US, fleeing Turkey with a forged green passport only designated to citizens with diplomat status. The government cancelled Gulen's passport earlier this year.

A former ally of Erdogan's AK Party, Gulen's movement and the government fell at odds originally over the sending of the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza in 2010.

In 2012, the gap between the two widened when prosecutors known to be loyal to the movement attemped to put MIT chief Hakan Fidan on trial.

In late 2013, Erdogan announced plans to close down prep schools if they cannot transform themselves into private schools. The movement, which gains a bulk of its income from these schools, claimed that they would not be able to make the transformation in time.

Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2014, 17:44
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