Turkey arrests 2 as more officers testify in espionage probe

Turkey arrested two active duty members in a probe into a gang that had provided prostitutes to senior members of the military, police officers and bureaucrats to blackmail their victims.

Turkey arrests 2 as more officers testify in espionage probe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Two active duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were arrested on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into a gang in the Naval Forces Command that had provided prostitutes to senior members of the military, police officers and bureaucrats for the purposes of using recorded footage to blackmail their victims.

More officers arrived at the Beşiktaş Courthouse yesterday to testify to civilian prosecutors as part of the same probe.

The two officers arrested were working in the intelligence department of the Gölcük Naval Command. They were accused of membership in a terrorist organization. With their arrests, the number of military officers arrested as part of the espionage probe increased to 18.

The investigation into the espionage gang was initiated in August last year when the police seized documents featuring sensitive information in the houses of what were then believed to be prostitution and blackmail suspects. As the investigation expanded, the prosecution established that the gang used foreign prostitutes to lure officers and bureaucrats in important positions into their trap, and then obtained confidential documents through blackmail.

There was no immediate information available regarding the testimonies of the officers who were interrogated on Thursday.

In the meantime, confidential military documents recently seized at the Gölcük Naval Command were sent to the İstanbul court hearing the Sledgehammer coup case. The documents included the categorization of top state figures in accordance with their religious and political tendencies as well as documents suggesting what would happen after the planned Sledgehammer coup d'état.

"Witnesses being threatened"

A civilian prosecutor involved in the Poyrazköy arsenal trial argued in court on Wednesday that witnesses in the trial were being threatened by some suspects.

The ninth hearing in the Poyrazköy arsenal trial was heard in the İstanbul 12th High Criminal Court on Wednesday. The court listened to the statements of some witnesses in the case, mostly police officers who took part in excavations in the Poyrazköy neighborhood in İstanbul in April 2009.

Police found a large cache of munitions in Poyrazköy on land owned by the İstek Foundation.

As the witnesses delivered their statements, one of the suspects in the case, İbrahim Koray Özyurt, asked their places of residence. Another suspect also said he would file a criminal complaint against the witnesses.

In response, prosecutor Nuri Ahmet Saraç told the presiding judge in the case that the witnesses were being threatened by the suspects. “Esteemed judge, this is a threat. This is an attempt to pressure and intimidate witnesses. Please intervene,” the prosecutor said. Due to a tug of war between the lawyers of the suspects and witnesses, the judge adjourned the case to a later date.

Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2011, 15:40
Add Comment