Minister dismisses CHP’s allegations over ‘spying software’

Minister dismisses CHP’s allegations over ‘spying software’

Eray Görgülü - ANKARA
Minister dismisses CHP’s allegations over ‘spying software’

Turkish Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan has dismissed allegations made by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) that a German-made software was allegedly used to spy on the attendees of last year’s “justice march.”

“We, as the ministry, have not bought such software. It is out of question,” Arslan told reporters on May 17.

“I have heard of those allegations. I wish CHP officials had talked with us first,” the minister added.

Arslan noted that the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) is in charge of legal wiretapping and the authority takes such actions only with permission from courts and judges.

“The BTK receives wiretapping requests. Judges working at the BTK investigate requests and make decisions. There are allegations that the BTK mediated the purchase of the software in question. This is not true. We know what we are doing,” Arslan said.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on May 15 called on German and Turkish authorities to reveal the details of the software.

Kılıçdaroğlu urged Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to take action regarding the allegations and demanded the BTK to reveal the details about the software.

His comments came after German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcasters NDR and WDR published a report by the digital rights group Access Now which said a software called Finspy, created by German company FinFisher, was used to spy on the phones of the attendees of last year’s CHP-led “justice march.”

The report said the attendees downloaded the program via a link shared by fake Twitter accounts, allowing real-time access to the contacts, photos and videos on their smartphones.

But the German Economy Ministry said that it had strict rules regarding the export of spy software licenses and had not approved any licenses for them since October 2014.

Kılıçdaroğlu led thousands on his three-week “justice march” to Istanbul from the capital Ankara last year to protest the imprisonment of a CHP lawmaker.