At least 25 detained in İzmir-based probe into wiretapping allegations
Police conducted several operations in 13 provinces, including İzmir, Istanbul and Yalova, early Aug. 18. AA PhotoAt least 25 officers have been detained in raids conducted as part of an investigation led by the İzmir Prosecutor’s Office over wiretapping claims.
Police conducted several operations in 13 provinces, including İzmir, Istanbul and Yalova, after receiving 50 complaints. The list of detentions includes 32 people, the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Aug. 19. The detained officers include former İzmir police intelligence deputy head Hasan Ali Okan, who was appointed as the province of Batman’s police chief in 2011, but was removed during the purges that ensued following the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 of 2013 graft probes.
The statement also said the investigation was looking into wiretapping allegations against the İzmir Police Department between 2010 and 2013.
The new raids came three weeks after the arrests of 39 police officers, including former senior officials, in a probe into wiretapping claims. But many of the officers targeted were involved in the corruption probes and have interpreted the case as politically motivated.
The lawyers of two of the police officers detained in the latest wave condemned the detentions as unlawful, claiming the wiretappings were preventive eavesdropping conducted as part of narcotic and terror operations. “According to the files, my clients have been detained for founding an organization, being members of an organization and forgery. But those [charges] don’t reflect the truth,” said lawyer İsmail Hakkı Küçük.
According to reports, the operation is not linked with an investigation into fraud claims at the İzmir Harbor, which inculpated a relative of Binali Yıldırım, the former transport minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate for the İzmir mayoralty during the March 30 local elections. The government rejected all allegations of graft at the time, accusing followers of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of establishing a “parallel structure” within the police department and the judiciary.
The government launched a stream of purges targeting the police, judiciary and other state institutions earlier this year as a response to the graft probes that targeted four ex-ministers and businessmen close to the AKP.
The İzmir Police Department and prosecutor’s office were also affected by the massive wave of reassignment, which included the chief prosecutor of İzmir, Hüseyin Baş, who was conducting a critical graft probe into the fraud claims at the İzmir Harbor, while the police chiefs who conducted the raid were suspended.