Top wiretapping body’s employees violated authority: Minister
AA PhotoSome operations at the headquarters of the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) before the start of a large graft probe last December were unknown to the government, Turkish Transport and Telecommunication Minister Lütfü Elvan has said, adding that some officials had violated their authority.
“Some records and logs were deleted and CDs were broken. Some dish antennas capable of transmitting were placed there,” the minister said, adding that the headquarters would be moved to a new place.
The government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at the time, have accused the Gülen movement under U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of organizing a plot, thanks to a graft probe that began on Dec. 17, 2013. Wiretappings, which include alleged voice records of Erdoğan and his family members, along with some Cabinet members and a number of businesspeople, were leaked online simultaneously with the probe last year. Erdoğan said the records were manipulated and TİB came under the microscope after the leakages.
“TİB has to move out of its current building to a different place because, bluntly speaking, we do not know what happened there [before the probe],” Elvan said during an interview with Anadolu Agency.
There were many wiretapping complaints before TİB was founded, Elvan also noted.
The body was founded “under goodwill” to centralize “legal” wiretappings by the police, the gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the minister noted.
“However, in time, the officials there were involved in some practices that exceeded their authorization, thereby weakening and eroding TİB,” he said.
Following the unveiling of illegal wiretappings, the ministry has launched an inspection and found many irregularities, he said.
The records for operations implicated by TİB employees were deleted, the minister said.
The illegal wiretapping was performed on people ranging from politicians to journalists, businesspeople and high-ranking soldiers.