Turkish opposition questions why policeman was sent by Erdoğan to meet Gadhafi
Turkish opposition questions why policeman were sent by Erdoğan to meet Gadhafi. DHA PhotoA deputy leader of the main opposition party has questioned the testimony of a suspect in the case over the wiretapping of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said Erdoğan sent him to Libya to meet Moammar Gadhafi several times in private.
“Why would a prime minister ever send a police officer to a state leader?” asked Gürsel Tekin of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in his remarks to Hürriyet on Feb. 5, adding that such a statement by Ahmet Türel, one of the 13 suspects in the bugging case, has raised questions.
The trial on the illegal wiretapping of Erdoğan’s offices with bugs hidden in power outlets began Jan. 2 at an Ankara court.
“Mr. Prime Minister [Erdoğan] sent me in particular to Libya,” Türel said at a hearing Feb. 4. “I met with Gadhafi several times, in private. My superiors had no knowledge about the issue. We are the people close to the [former] prime minister. Leave planting bugs aside, we were near him all the time,” he said.
Türel’s testimony should be investigated Tekin said, also questioning who was accompanying him, if there were politicians with him and what the motives of the visits were.
“The public is curious about the issue,” Tekin said, also saying there were speculations that some politicians were with him.
“The government [must] explain why he went there. An operation on Gadhafi followed these [visits],” he said.
However, Ali Özkaya, Erdoğan’s attorney said the suspect’s testimony was untrue.
“He is openly lying,” Özkaya told the court. “Mr. President [Erdoğan] sent a police chief abroad as an envoy as if no representatives were left at the Foreign Ministry? Mr. Undersecretary [Mustafa] Varank also confirms that this is not true. Mr. President would not even recognize the suspect if he saw him,” he said.
Erdoğan’s advisor Varank, who was the Prime Ministry Undersecretary at the time, also testified at the hearing, saying he oversaw the process to remove the bugs in Erdoğan’s office.
The court ruled for the arrest of Sedat Zavar, Serhat Demir, İlker Usta, three of the five missing suspects in the case, as it had made a similar decision for Ali Özdoğan and Enes Çiğçi earlier.
Özkaya also said Zavar and Çiğci requested passports for their wives from the Turkish mission in Serbia. This matched with information provided by Interior Minister Efkan Ala the same day, who said the ministry had knowledge about the whereabouts of these suspects.
The government blames the “parallel structure,” the term used to refer to the followers of Gülen, an erstwhile ally of the government and Erdoğan, for the eavesdropping cases.
In 2011, an anti-Gadhafi uprising led by the National Transitional Council (NTC) emerged and was backed by NATO to oust the four-decade leader, who was captured and killed by NTC militants on Aug. 23, 2011.