Turkish Deputy PM Arınç may join army espionage case

Turkish Deputy PM Arınç may join army espionage case

Turkish Deputy PM Arınç may join army espionage case

Bülent Arınç. AA photo

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said Jan. 23 that he might apply to be a plaintiff in a military espionage case, a day after a court accepted an indictment charging 357 suspects with espionage.

Arınç’s name, as well as other ministers’, was in the indictment, with allegations that an espionage ring was tracking him.

“It is understood that I was a target at a different time,” Arınç told reporters. “If I read the indictment and find the claims serious, I would like to be involved in the case.”

Arınç’s statements came a day after an İzmir court conducting a probe into military espionage accepted the indictment charging 357 suspects with illegally gathering military and illegal information.

The indictment, which runs 1,762 pages, accuses the suspects of “gaining military information through blackmail.” Eighty-eight suspects are already under arrest, while over 50 officers on active duty are included in the suspects list.

Nineteen of the suspects are women, according to the indictment.

The suspects are charged with listening to private phone conversations, spying on officers’ bedrooms with cameras and blackmail. The alleged gang has also been accused of sending sex workers to officers’ homes.

The suspects allegedly gathered personal and military information in a database called “Pandora” and kept tabs on government officials like deputy prime ministers Arınç and Ali Babacan.

The information allegedly includes the identity numbers, family records and passport numbers for both Arınç and Babacan, as well as their families.

A second database, dubbed the “Black Box,” has yet to be cracked, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors have demanded life sentences for the alleged leader of the criminal organization, businessman Bilgin Özkaynak, and arrested university student Narin Korkmaz, who is listed as an alleged top member of the gang.

The prosecutor further demanded up to six years in prison for the head of the Navy, Vice Adm. Veysel Kösele, on charges that he divulged confidential information without receiving prior approval from the General Staff. Kösele was arrested Sept. 15, 2012, before being released several days later pending trial.

The investigation into the espionage gang started in 2009 after allegations arose that the gang reportedly targeted active-duty officers with knowledge of details about warcraft radar locations.