Cabinet to get new secure phones by 2015, says Turkish minister
Nuray Babacan ANKARA
DHA PhotoMembers of the Council of Ministers and top military officials will get new anti-wiretapping phones before the end of the year, Industry Minister Fikri Işık said, while arguing that the “parallel structure” - a phrase used to describe the Gülenist movement - was deeply rooted in the strategic boards of the country’s top science body.
“The parallel structure was entrenched in strategic positions at TÜBİTAK [The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey], such as the crypto department. They were not in the science or education departments. They performed wiretapping in military project fields. If you’re not an organization, then why are you at the crypto department?” Işık said to a small group of journalists on Dec. 23, indicating that the government was fair when it labeled the Gülen movement under U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen a criminal organization aimed at toppling the elected ruling party.
Işık’s remarks came as a follow-up to remarks delivered by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week.
During a signing ceremony for a Turkish satellite, Erdoğan implied the Gülen movement was a “gang of betrayal,” which had also snuck into TÜBİTAK, the supreme body that also produces the satellite.
“The old crypto phones were decrypted together by TİB [the Telecommunications Directorate], TÜBİTAK and the parallel structure within the Police Department,” said Işık, whose ministry is in charge of science and technology in addition to industry.
“All technical precautions have been taken against wiretapping and [the phones] will be distributed before the end of the year,” Işık said, noting that the distribution list was being drafted by the Secretariat-General of the National Security Council (MGK) according to need.
In his speech referring to the science watchdog, Erdoğan also warned the government-required “purge” of Gülenists from TÜBİTAK has not yet been completed, while also expressing his wish for a finalization of the purge.
Işık said, for example, the energy minister was wiretapped by the movement due to the “strategic importance of energy projects,” and added: “Mr. President is sensitive, because this ‘structure’ has been present at critical places within TÜBİTAK, which is the flagship of very important projects.”
Earlier this week the Minister for Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Lütfi Elvan announced that they plan to move the TİB headquarters because operations at the headquarters before the start of a large graft probe last December were unknown to the government.
The government and Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at the time, have accused the Gülen movement of organizing a plot, thanks to a graft probe that began on Dec. 17, 2013. Wiretappings, which include alleged voice recordings 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 recordings were manipulated and TİB came under the microscope after the leaks.
“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.