‘Police monitored all emails, web traffic for months on court order’
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL
Four police officers, who were sought by police within the scope of the probe on the police, ‘the elements of the parallel state,’ surrendered. AA photoThe Istanbul police’s intelligence department monitored or accessed the web and email traffic of everyone living in the Marmara region, including Istanbul, according to two documents that have surfaced within the scope of a large wiretapping probe on police.
The first proof of the large-scale surveillance was a six-page document, a letter by former police desk chief Erol Demirhan to the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court asking for data on website accesses and popular email accounts, such as Yahoo and Hotmail.
Demirhan has been arrested as part of a large wiretapping probe within the department. The court was abolished after a change in the court that put an end to courts with special authorizations.
The demand, which said monitoring was required in the struggle against illegal organizations such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), Devrimci Karargah (Revolutionary Headquarters) and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), along with Islamic ones such as Hizbullah, al-Qaeda and Hizb ut-Tahrir was immediately approved by the court for a three-month period.
The police also demanded identities and copies of ID cards of those who had email accounts outside Turkey.
Based on the court decision, the police monitored the emails and ADSL lines of some journalists and their fellow police officers as well.
The demand included a reasoning that the police wanted to take preventive steps against possible terror activities.
The police said it would collect data from the Directorate of Telecommunication (TİB) and Türk Telekom, the country’s main communications company, and that the information would not be used as evidence but for “intelligence intentions.”
The second document, a two-page approval by the court, said it was “compulsory” to collect “all detailed records” to prevent terror actions.
Both documents were included in a recent report by police inspectors involved in the recent wiretapping case.
Following a row between the government and the Gülen movement headed by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a probe into police intelligence was launched in July. A number of active police officers have so far been detained in the investigation.
Meanwhile, four people who were sought by police within the scope of the probe on the police, “the elements of the parallel state,” as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan puts it, surrendered yesterday.
Gaffur Ataç, Kürşat Durmuş, Selman Yuyucu and Oğuzhan Ceylan went directly to an Istanbul court with their lawyers to testify.
Two others were released a day earlier after their testimonies. More than 35 policemen have been arrested in the probe.
Erdoğan has been at odds with Gülenists since the start of the graft probe on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdoğan blames the latter for their involvement in the operation that resulted in the resignations of Cabinet ministers.