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Former Turkish police chief Hanefi Avcı arrested

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 9/28/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Hanefi Avcı, the former police chief of Eskişehir, was arrested in Istanbul on Tuesday after he was taken into custody for alleged links to an outlawed group. (UPDATED)

An Istanbul court arrested Hanefi Avcı, the former police chief of Eskişehir and author of a controversial, best-selling book, on Tuesday after he was taken into custody for alleged links to an outlawed group.

Detained Tuesday morning in Ankara following a search of his house, Avcı was escorted to Istanbul later in the day for questioning by the prosecutor, but he refused to testify, leading the prosecutor to request his arrest. His office and residence in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir were also searched by police.

Avcı was recalled from active duty by his own request.

The former police chief was transferred to the Beşiktaş Courthouse in Istanbul under strict security measures and was reportedly being questioned by Public Prosecutor Kadir Altınışık as the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press Tuesday.

The former Eskişehir police chief was drawn into the media spotlight following the recent publication of his book “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar: Dün Devlet Bugün Cemaat” (‘Devotee’ Residents of Haliç: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation). The book alleges that the religious Fethullah Gülen community has covertly taken over control of the state. Avcı claimed in his book that members of the community led by Fethullah Gülen had illegally tapped telephone conversations, including some of his own phone calls.

Prosecutors in Ankara had called on Avcı to answer allegations that he had been using a telephone line belonging to a member of an illegal organization called “The Revolutionary Headquarters.” He did not answer the accusations.

Members of The Revolutionary Headquarters were arrested last week in a series of operations carried out in various Turkish cities.

The telephone line in question allegedly belonged to Revolutionary Headquarters member Necdet Kılıç, who was detained after police reportedly found his fingerprints in the house of Orhan Yılmazkaya, the group’s alleged leader. Yılmazkaya was killed last year in a shootout with Istanbul police that also claimed the lives of a police officer and a civilian.

During his questioning about the claims that Avcı used his phone line, Kılıç said: “They have tapped into the phone line that belongs to me by making it seem to belong to someone else. This phone-tapping is illegal.”

Asked, “Do you know Hanefi Avcı?” Kılıç replied: “I know him; he is my torturer. I was detained on the claim of being a member of the THKP-C [Turkish People’s Salvation Party-Front] and then he tortured me.”

Prior to his detainment, Avcı sent a written statement to some members of the media, saying he might be taken by force but refused to testify of his own accord.

“I will bow to no one and no office that follows the plan and program of the [Gülen] community and I will not answer any question from the judiciary, which I do not believe acts according to the laws of this state,” Avcı said in his statement, in which he also denied any ties with The Revolutionary Headquarters.

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