Bugging devices found at Erdoğan's office 'missing'
ANKARATurkish officials are unable to find the bugging devices that were discovered at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's office, daily Hürriyet has learned.
In a recent memo seen by Hürriyet, prosecutor Özgür Kamışlık notifies the 7th Heavy Penal Court in Ankara that the bugging devices could not be found in the property and evidence unit of the prosecutor's office due to the "abundance of storage rooms and the ongoing clearance there."
The prosecutor also assured the court that the bugging devices, which were seized in May 2014, would be sent to the court "as soon as they would be found" in the storage.
"This notification springs several questions to mind," said Mehmet Sürer, a defence lawyer.
During his tenure as Turkey's Prime Minister, Erdoğan made public on Dec. 21, 2012, that wiretapping devices had been found in his office and home, calling the move "open espionage."
An Ankara prosecutor dealing with anti-terror cases on the grounds that it involved an espionage-related crime immediately launched an investigation with the technical and intelligence aspects being carried out by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
Erdoğan and the government members blamed security forces tied to the movement of Erdoğan’s erstwhile ally, Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, for the wiretapping and said they had even wiretapped the president, the parliamentary speaker and chief of General Staff in order to blackmail them.
Eleven officers, including Erdoğan’s former chief bodyguard, were then detained at their homes last June.
Two more police officers, including the former chief of police who was accused of planting the bugs, were arrested in Istanbul following their extradition from Romania on March 28.
The devices, which have already been erased, were sent to the prosecutor in May and taken in by the court’s evidence unit.
The prosecutor’s indictment says the suspects had planted bugs inside three electricity plugs in the working office of Erdoğan at the Çankaya Palace, and the devices were used for political spying from Nov. 24, 2011 to Dec. 29, 2011, when they were discovered.
The indictment also questions six other bugs inside plugs in Erdoğan’s office at his residence in Ankara.