Turkish minister says new encrypted phones for high-ranking officials to be put to use in 2016
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks on the phone at parliament. DAILY NEWS PhotoPhones used by top government officials are to be changed by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) after top officials suffered illegal wiretapping, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık stated on Feb. 18.
“The parallel structure put some ‘pirate codes’ in the old software to decrypt top-secret phone calls between top Turkish officials. But we have cleared all of them and established new codes for the new cryptographic phones,” Işık said.
The government has accused followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of engaging in widespread and illegal wiretapping, alleging that the network attempted to infiltrate the Turkish state. It has also denounced the December 2013 corruption probe, led by Gülen sympathizing prosecutors, as a “dirty plot” constructed by a “parallel state” to overthrow the government.
Among the illegally wiretapped high-ranking officials include then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then-head of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) Hakan Fidan.
“We will focus on the encrypted smart phones and will concentrate on the new cryptographic phone design for the next step,” Işık said.
Writing new codes began after it was confirmed that encrypted phones belonging to senior Turkish leaders had been compromised, he said.
“A maximum of 200-250 cryptographic phones will be produced and will be put to use in 2016,” Işık said.
During the introduction of the new cryptographic phones he underlined that the scientific council changed all of the old software and rewrote the programs entirely.
Some 5 million people in Turkey were listened into in 2012, Interior Minister Efkan Ala stated on Feb. 4, referring to a calculation that around the 250,000 people who were wiretapped spoke to at least 20 people on the phone.