How I ‘met’ my wiretapper
I was not aware of the surprise waiting for me when I read the indictment describing illegal wiretapping and monitoring of former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
While I was reading about how other people’s rights were violated I came across my own name, included on a list as a target for wiretappers.
My name came up in the confession of Fatih Aydın, a member of the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen working in the Security General Directorate.
Two testimonies that Aydın, an intelligence officer, gave to prosecutors after he was detained by police reveal some horrifying details. Among these are details about illegal wiretapping and monitoring activities conducted between 2008 and 2013 by the intelligence bureau of the directorate, much of which was under the control of what is now called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
One of the most striking notes of the confession is the fact that Aydın named the intelligence officers who said in an inside conversation that they were the ones who leaked onto the Internet the tape of Baykal, leading to him stepping down as CHP head.
Aydın also confesses how the tapes and phone conversation records were either leaked online or used to blackmail MHP leaders, pressuring them to resign just before the 2011 elections.
What is particularly interesting in the testimony is how a worker named Ali Ağıllı warned personnel right after the MHP tapes were leaked that “this is the bedroom of the state. What happens here, stays here.”
We see once again from the confession of Aydın - who began working for the Technical Operations team under the Intelligence Directorate in 2009 - just how common wiretapping journalists and politicians was back then.
For example, the wiretapping activities targeting journalists are referred to as follows in the 565th page of Aydın’s testimony: “Some journalists, including Enis Berberoğlu, Fikret Bila, Can Dündar, Sedat Ergin, Nuray Mert and many others who I cannot recall in this moment, were wiretapped at the time.”
Aydın repeated these exact words in the second testimony he gave, adding that he “remembers clearly” what Bila and Baykal said in their phone conversation.
I was wiretapped at the time when I was the editor-in-chief of daily Milliyet. Bila was Milliyet’s Ankara representative, Enis Berberoğlu was Hürriyet’s Ankara representative, Hakan was a columnist for Hürriyet as he is today, Dündar worked for Milliyet, and Mert wrote columns for Radikal.
Aydın, who has expressed his remorse and offered a confession, was a police officer who worked for FETÖ since elementary school. Unlike some others, he is not shy about admitting his ties to the group.
How did he illegally monitor my phone conversations? What methods did he use to record my conversations and then decode them?
I’ll explain that in a later piece.