Six arrested in alleged mass wiretapping
ISTANBULSix people, including former police chiefs, have been arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged mass wiretapping of hundreds of Turkish lawmakers and civil servants, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The probe is linked to the creation of what is considered a fake terrorist group called “Selam Tevhid,” formed to justify the wiretapping. U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of forming and heading a terrorist organization to topple the Turkish government through insiders in the police and other state institutions, is the main suspect in the investigation.
The six, including former police chiefs and a governor, were among a total of 17 who were detained last week within the investigation headed by the organized crime and terrorism bureau of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The sextet was arrested on charges of “attempting to topple the government of the Republic of Turkey and prevent it from performing its duties” and “membership of an armed organization” after testifying for seven hours along with 11 others who were later released.
The six, identified as Gov. Ahmet Pek and former police officers İsmail Kılınç, Hamza Bayındır, Zafer Karaman, Ayhan Koç and Oktay Bulduk, were detained in last week’s operation carried out by the Istanbul Police Department’s counterterrorism unit, within a case filed into the alleged wiretapping of 7,000 lawmakers, civil servants, journalists, academics and others. Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head Hakan Fidan were among those targeted for wiretapping over three years starting from 2011.
The case has so far included 122 suspects, with police raids conducted in Istanbul, Ankara, the northwestern provinces of Kocaeli and Bursa, the Central Anatolian province of Çorum, the eastern provinces of Malatya and Siirt, the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Hakkari and the Mediterranean province of Antalya.