How I was wiretapped by the police

How I was wiretapped by the police

The text was signed by Yunus Yazar, the head of the Turkish police’s intelligence department, on Feb. 7, 2008, but the part reading “Identification of the person on whom a cautionary judgement will be imposed” was left blank.

A 15-digit IMEI number starting with “357065...” was written right next to the “Communication device’s number and type” section.

In the part right below the “The reason for the tapping and recording the correspondence” space, the reason for cautionary judgement was stated as follows: “To decode and prevent possible domestic activities by the terrorist group Islamic Great East Raiders Front (İBDA-C) and its affiliates.”

Police intelligence department deputy head Ayhan Falakalı applied to the Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court on the same day, demanding authorization for the wiretapping of phones on the basis that the users were suspected of being members of a religiously motivated terrorist organization.

On the same day, Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court Judge Hasan Şatır gave an affirmative response to the request with a “ruling” paper, saying the attached document was reviewed and a decision was made.

But it seems the judge did not even know whose communications it is that they will monitor.

Three months passed. Then on May 7, 2008 there was the same procedure and the same reasoning once again.

Once again, the targeted person’s name was unknown. The person who wrote the justification was once again Yunus Yazar. This time, police intelligence department deputy Coşkun Çakar signed the request meant for the Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court. The court ruling was similarly formulated with a copy-paste method, but this time “A three-month extention for the first time” statement was written next to the IMEI number. The name of the judge who confirmed this was different, this time belonging to Kadir Kayan, another judge at the same court.

Another three months passed. Then on Aug. 7, 2008 the tapping permit was extended by three months for a second time. The signature for the justification again belonged to Yunus Yazar and the request paper was again signed by Coşkun Çakar. The court ruling was again the standard text. Below the ruling paper was the name of Süleyman Önce, a judge at the 11th Heavy Penal Court.

But there was one key change in the text. For the first time, right next to the IMEI number that starts with 357065, across from the “Against whom a cautinary judgement will be imposed” section, the name Hasan Tuna is written. But this a completely false statement. There is no such person. The IMEI number written there belongs to the Doğan Media Group, which on that date had assigned this number to myself, Sedat Ergin, the editor-in-chief of daily Milliyet, which was then owned by Doğan.

The judicial process regarding permissions to illegally wiretap, by way of these false statements, began with the inspectors’ finding of the real owners of the IMEI number in the 11th Heavy Penal Court’s archives. The file was then submitted to the court and the judging process began in 2015, after an indictment was prepared following an investigation.

What prompted me to write about this is the fact that the Gülenist police officers - who are suspects in this case and who were illegally tapping my phone during the 2008 referendum - are the same officers as those in the indictment prepared for the scandal involving the tapping and monitoring of then main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, as well as the tapping of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The same officers appead in all illegal wiretap files.

What is the current situation of these intelligence personnel, following the July 2016 coup attempt? Ayhan Falakalı, Coşkun Çakar and Yunus Yazar of the police intelligence department, who were tapping my conversations based on the false claim that I am a member of the IBDA-C, are now fugitives.

What about the judges who permitted my tapping? Hasan Şatır, the first judge who permitted the tapping, is currently the chief judge at the Ankara 9th Heavy Penal Court. Kadir Kayan, the judge who permitted the first extension, is a fugitive. Süleyman İnce, the judge who permitted the second extension, has been suspended and expelled by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors.

One thing puzzles me. In my previous column I wrote about parts of a testimony given by Fatih Aydın, a police officer who admitted monitoring my phone conversations. Aydın said he became part of the monitoring group in 2009. But his statements about wiretapping me date back to 2008.

In that case, where are the permits granted to monitor me in 2009? Were the signed documents destroyed? Or was my phone monitored using a completely different method?

Go figure...

Sedat Ergin, hdn, Opinion