World Bulletin / News Desk
An İstanbul court has accepted an indictment against a gang within the naval forces charged with prostitution, blackmail and espionage.
The indictment prepared by prosecutor Fikret Seçen was accepted by the İstanbul High Criminal Court late Tuesday.
The 250-page-long indictment mentions 56 suspects, including retired Col. İbrahim Sezer, who is suspected of leading the gang, Cihan news agency said. Sezer is suspected of having established a prostitution ring to extract vital state security information from high-ranking officers and senior bureaucrats through the use of blackmail for the purpose of selling sensitive information to foreign intelligence services. The court also ruled to keep the 16 suspects under arrest. The first hearing in the case will be held on April 20.
The indictment into the gang, which is accused of selling vital information on a large number of crucial security projects to foreign intelligence services, was submitted to the İstanbul 11th High Criminal Court earlier this month.
There are 56 suspects in the indictment, 40 of whom are officers on active duty. Two admirals are included in the indictment. The remaining suspects are either retired military personnel or civilians, such as Ahmet Lütfi Varoğlu, head of the International Cooperation Department of the Defense Industry Undersecretariat; Yücel Çipli, who served as the head of a Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) department in the past; and TÜBİTAK employees Mehmet Seyfettin Alevcan and Merdan Metin.
The indictment refers to the gang as a criminal organization, claiming that its leader is retired Col. Sezer. Admirals Şafak Yürekli and Fahri Can Yıldırım have also been indicted and been accused of aiding the criminal organization.
According to the indictment, the gang urged the women involved in the prostitution ring to have abortions if they got pregnant. The indictment says women under the age of 18 were also among the women used by the gang, the Turkish agency said.
Prosecutor Seçen claims the gang was well-organized and active in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and some other critical institutions such as TÜBİTAK, the Air Electronics Industry (Havelsan) and the General Staff's Electronic Systems Command (GES).
There are also 68 co-plaintiffs listed in the indictment who were reportedly monitored by the criminal organization. The gang used illegal phone-tapping techniques and illegal recording of footage of the individuals -- some in intimate circumstances -- for the purpose of blackmail.
There are varying levels of indictments with differing accusations against the suspects, with charges including "violation of the right to confidential communications"; "illegal wiretapping and recording"; "violation of one's right to his private life"; "recording of private information"; "acquiring or distributing data in violation of the law"; "forming and administering, membership of, and aiding and abetting an organization established for the purpose of crime"; "destroying documents crucial to national security and the domestic and external benefit of the state"; "acquiring documents crucial to national security"; and "political or military espionage."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Şubat 2011, 17:32