Suspects to be queried on intel agency tapping

Suspects to be queried on intel agency tapping

Toygun Atilla / Çetin Aydın HÜRRİYET / ISTANBUL
Suspects to be queried on intel agency tapping

Former Istanbul police intel chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer protested the operation by raising his handcuffed arms. DHA Photo

Police officers, including chiefs from the anti-terror department that have been detained as part of a probe into the parallel state, are set to be questioned on accusations that they wiretapped Turkey’s intelligence chief, according to prosecutors.

Some 76 police officers, including high-profile officers, such as Yurt Atayün, former head of the Istanbul police’s anti-terror department, and Ömer Köse, head of the anti-terror department at the time of the Dec. 17, 2013, alleged graft operation, will face “espionage” charges. All but one of the 76 suspects have been detained.

The suspects are accused of conducting illegal surveillance of the Internet data of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and wiretapping and recording the MİT chief’s phone conversations, painting him as a member of a terror organization under the nickname “Emin.”

A high-profile cryptology expert at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) was also allegedly wiretapped by the suspects.

Some 104 officers have been detained so far following the operation’s latest wave July 23, including former deputy police chiefs Kazım Aksoy, Ramazan Candan and Gafur Ataç, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

The families of the detained suspects vented their fury at the detentions.

Ömer Köse’s mother, Meşure Köse, criticized the operation, saying they had not done anything wrong. Detained police chief Oğuzhan Ceylan’s wife, Nehire Ceylan, also noted how they had once survived a terrorist attack on their house only to be targeted now. “The attack came from terrorists then. Today, I wonder, who is it coming from?” she asked.  

A court has ordered a total of 115 police officers to be detained as part of the two separate investigations.

Istanbul police failed to detain nine intelligence officers, including a former branch head, who disappeared after the recent operation. Police have taken measures to prevent them from leaving the country.

Police have so far failed to locate Erol Demirhan, Mehmet Yılmaz, Ahmet Öztürk, Halil Karakuzu, Murat Hamarat, İsmail Aslan, Ali İkli, İkbal Kayaduman and Fatih Tezcan.

Demirhan, the former Istanbul police intelligence branch head, reportedly disappeared after saying that he was going to hand himself over to authorities in Ankara.

Some 32 intelligence officers, including Ali Fuat Yılmazer, a former Istanbul police intelligence chief, were detained in Istanbul in anti-terror operations launched in 15 provinces on July 23.

Istanbul prosecutor’s office claimed that the police officers started a “mock” investigation into the Selam-Tevhid organization, wiretapping 251 people since 2010.

Still, most of the suspected officers were also under fierce criticism for their key role in some other crucial cases, such as the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon alleged coup attempts.

The Constitutional Court has recently ruled out former court decisions on the Ergenekon, Balyoz and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) cases, paving the way for the release of many suspects. The top court’s statements on the poor evidence in the cases added to the reaction and doubts over the police officers dealing with the “wiretapping” cases.