At least eight police officers arrested in wiretapping probe

At least eight police officers arrested in wiretapping probe

At least eight police officers arrested in wiretapping probe

DHA photo

At least eight of police officers, who were sent to court with demands for their arrest as part of operations targeting the “parallel state,” were arrested in Istanbul on July 25.

A total of 75 Istanbul police officers, who face charges of “crimes against the government; forgery of official documents; obtaining data regarding the safety of the state; professional misconduct; damaging, changing and destroying data and violating the confidentiality of communication” were sent to court on July 25.

In two operations, dozens of senior police officers suspected of being linked to the Fethullah Gülen movement, or what the government calls the “parallel state,” were detained on the grounds of espionage and illegal wiretapping, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicating that the probes would be widened.

Erdoğan has long claimed the corruption allegations that forced four Cabinet ministers to resign were part of a coup attempt by followers of Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamist scholar. Many of the officers involved in the corruption probe were removed from their posts in a government purge earlier this year. Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of being behind a series of leaked recordings posted on the Internet intimating corruption committed by the prime minister and his family members.

A melee erupted at the courthouse when some of the arrested officers attacked their colleagues who were tasked with transferring them to prison.

A sum of eight police officers were released, with four of them freed subject to judicial monitoring later in the day.

Some 114 officers have been detained so far as part of the two separate investigations conducted on July 22 and 23 in Istanbul and other cities, including Ankara, İzmir, Diyarbakır and Adana.

 “This isn’t done – this is just the beginning. Those who have threatened our national security will be called to account for this. I declare that I will go after this parallel structure until the end, after I become president,” Erdoğan said late July 23 during a speech at a rally in the southern province of Adana.

Kadri Cemil Yiğit, a police officer released after being detained, told journalists upon exiting the courthouse in Istanbul that he was upset at being accused of spying for Israel.

The operation on police is aimed at putting pressure on colleagues who have struggled against “pro-coup groups and terror organizations.”

Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based journalist, has also been wiretapped, according to court documents. Jenkins has been writing on the Ergenekon case also among with other issues.

Meanwhile, six police officers were removed from duty in the wake of the wiretapping probe.

Most of the suspected officers were also under fierce criticism for their key role in some other crucial cases, such as the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon alleged coup attempts.