14 detained in fresh Turkey raids over alleged mass wiretapping

14 detained in fresh Turkey raids over alleged mass wiretapping

14 detained in fresh Turkey raids over alleged mass wiretapping At least 14 people have been detained in 11 Turkish provinces as part of an investigation into the alleged mass wiretapping of hundreds of lawmakers and civil servants.

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, a friend turned foe of the government, is the main suspect in the investigation.

The 14 were from a total of 26 for whom detention warrants were issued in a fresh operation started 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. Turkish President Recep Tayyip 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 had 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.

The main suspect in the case is Gülen, who is accused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Erdoğan of forming and heading a terrorist organization to topple the Turkish government through insiders in the police and other state institutions.

The 122 suspects, including journalist Emre Uslu and former police chiefs Yurt Atayün and Ömer Köse, are being probed based on a 10,529-page indictment prepared by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan. The suspects are charged with one account each of “attempting to topple the government of the Republic of Turkey and preventing it from fully or partially conducting its duties.” 

Some 968 people were stated in the indictment of the case as plaintiffs, including Erdoğan, Davutoğlu, several ministers, and high-ranking civil servants.

A former police officer turned journalist, Uslu was previously one of the leading figures supporting the Ergenekon investigation into an alleged coup plot. He also hit headlines after Turkish dailies Akşam, Güneş and Star published a manufactured story alleging an assassination plot against Erdoğan’s daughter, Sümeyye Erdoğan, claiming that Uslu and former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Umut Oran exchanged Twitter messages discussing the assassination plot. 

Upon an investigation into the claim, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office stated that the Twitter messages between Uslu and Oran were entirely fabricated in an attempt to manufacture evidence against them.