Prosecutor deepens probe over PM Erdoğan’s wiretapping
Mesut Hasan Benli ANKARA / Hürriyet
Prime Minister Erdoğan (C), surrounded by his bodyguards, salutes his supporters. Some of the bodyguards were removed from their posts amid wiretapping claims. AA Photo
Turkey’s intelligence agency has identified four civil servants as “potential suspects” for the illegal wiretapping of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office and home.
The intelligence agency subsequently submitted the identities of the people and bugs found in Erdoğan’s office to the Ankara prosecutor. Prosecutor Çetin Durak deepened his investigation of the wiretapping on Erdoğan in light of the evidence.
No legal action has been taken concerning the civil servants, as the prosecutor did not count the memo submitted by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) as evidence, but instructed the police to further their investigations on the people. Furthermore, the Prime Ministry Inspection Board received the testimony of the four suspects, but all denied the claims attributed to them.
Erdoğan made public on Dec. 21, 2012, that wiretapping devices had been found in his Prime Ministry office and home, calling the move open espionage. An Ankara prosecutor dealing with anti-terror cases on the grounds that it involved an espionage-related crime immediately launched an investigation with the technical and intelligence aspects being carried out by the MİT itself. Erdoğan and the government members blamed security forces tied to the movement of Erdoğan’s erstwhile ally, Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, for the wiretapping and said they had even wiretapped the president, the parliamentary speaker and chief of General Staff in order to blackmail them.
Following the abolition of specially authorized courts dealing with terror related crimes, the case was transferred to another prosecutor dealing with offenses against the constitutional order. Many of the bodyguards working at the Prime Ministry, as well as security forces believed to have access to the Prime Ministry offices, have testified.
Çetin deepened the investigation and recently called on the MİT to introduce the evidence it has with regard to wiretapping. These devices, whose serial numbers have been already erased, were sent to the prosecutor last month and taken under the protection of property and the evidence unit of the courthouse.
Before handing the bugs to the prosecutor, the MİT demanded a detailed technical analysis on them from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and attached the report prepared by the science watchdog to the file it introduced to the prosecutor. Finding the report satisfactory, the prosecutor did not deem it necessary to renew the technical investigation.