Istanbul prosecutor seeks arrests in major eavesdropping case
ISTANBULAn Istanbul prosecutor has demanded the arrest of 19 suspects, including former police chiefs Fuat Yılmazer and Erol Demirhan, who were detained last week in a major eavesdropping case.
The police chiefs and others were accused of wiretapping leading businesspeople and prominent journalists in a bid to topple the government, as part of an investigation into the followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government of founding a “parallel state.”
Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor’s office presented documents on the suspects on March 16. Organized crime police had raided a number of properties across 15 Turkish provinces, including Istanbul, on March 12, detaining 21 people, 19 of whom were charged on March 16.
The case includes claims against some 44 former intelligence police officials, including some who are currently under arrest.
The operations were part of an investigation into unlawful wiretapping by the “parallel state.”
According to prosecutors, the 19 suspects monitored more than 50 businessmen and journalists for five years.
The prosecution indictment stated that former police planned the wiretappings in 2013 as part of “attempts to dissolve the Turkish parliament.”
On March 14, 56 suspects were arrested in the southwestern province of Isparta, including the former rector of one of the country’s largest universities.
Turkey has been targeting the followers of Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, for years.