Turkish deputies to get new phones to ‘secure conversation privacy’

Turkish deputies to get new phones to ‘secure conversation privacy’

Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Turkish deputies to get new phones to ‘secure conversation privacy’

AA photo

Turkish MPs will be provided with new phones in order to enhance the security of their conversation privacy, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ahmet Aydın has stated, adding that “necessary tests” are currently being conducted.

“Security precautions were adopted and necessary tests are underway. With this system that works in closed circuit, the security of phone conversations will be at the highest level,” said Aydın, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker from the southeastern province of Adıyaman. 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Gürsel Tekin previously asked Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman about why the phones in the official rooms at parliament were being changed. 

“Why was there a need for new phones when the old ones were functioning?” Tekin asked in a parliamentary question submitted after the April 16 constitutional referendum, saying the old phones were replaced by “Cisco” branded phones that were said to include “serious security gaps.”

“Prof. Salvatore Stolfo from Columbia University in the U.S. previously announced that there were serious security gaps in Cisco’s VolP phones,” Tekin added, noting that such phones were also determined to have been used by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have orchestrated the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

“It previously emerged that this phone brand was used by FETÖ members. So what is the reason for choosing these phones? What is the price of the tender?” he said. 

Replying to Tekin’s questions, Aydın said the license fee for making the old phones work was high and “more functional phones” were needed. 

“The license fee to make the old phones work was high and even if the license was obtained a number of functions - such as transferring a call, holding a teleconference, and putting on hold – would not work. So the phones were decided to be changed. Via the purchasing of more functional, durable and secure new phones, the license fee that needed to be paid was avoided,” he said. 

Adding that there was no increase of the price paid to the voice service in previous years with this tender, Aydın stressed that in addition to receiving the same service, an IP phone infrastructure had been set up and the phones were changed without charge. 

“Because the central telephone was moved inside the Presidential Palace, the price that will be paid in the upcoming process for fixed phone service will be further lowered in the tenders from now on due to the fact that the central system has been set up,” he added.