Case into wiretapping against high-ranking officials begins
ANKARAThe case into 28 people from Turkey’s top science body and top telecommunications authority illegally wiretapping the encrypted phones of high-ranking state officials, including then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will begin on July 13.
Some 28 people working at the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), including former TİB deputy chairman Osman Nihat Şen and former TÜBİTAK vice president Hasan Palaz, will stand trial for “attempting to annul the government of the Republic of Turkey or attempting to partially or entirely block the government from performing its duties, being a member of a terror organization, collecting state information that should have stayed confidential for purposes of political or military spying aims and openly revealing the secrecy of communication between individuals.”
The indictment stated 28 people had illegally eavesdropped on the encrypted phones of Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and a number of other officials without a court order, adding the group had transferred these voice recordings to the archives of the so-called “Pro-Fetullah Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure” associated with the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fetullah Gülen, whose followers have been accused of forming a “parallel structure” within the state.
Apart from Erdoğan, complainants in the case include Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin.
Other victims listed in the case included Davutoğlu, Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Ali Babacan, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel, ministers Faruk Çelik, Nabi Avcı, Mehdi Eker, Veysel Eroğlu, Taner Yıldız, Ömer Çelik and former ministers Bekir Bozdağ, Erdoğan Bayraktar, Binali Yıldırım, Recep Akdağ, Zafer Çağlayan, Efkan Ala, Hayati Yazıcı, Beşir Atalay, Nihat Ergün, Ömer Dinçer and Egemen Bağış.
After wiretapping bugs were found in Erdoğan’s office in late December 2011, the Center of Research for Advanced Technologies of Informatics and Security (BİLGEM), working under TÜBİTAK, developed encrypted telephones in 2012. Those phones were tested by the MİT before being distributed to senior state and government officials, with the organization saying in a report they could not be wiretapped.
However, the codes to cipher the telephones were allegedly leaked, facilitating wiretapping.
The headquarters of the TİB are located in the Gölbaşı district of Ankara. In late December 2014, Elvan announced a plan to move the TİB’s headquarters because its operations at the headquarters before the start of a large graft probe in December 2013 were unknown to the government.