New Wave of Wiretapping Arrest Raids in Turkey

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Turkish authorities on Wednesday launched a nationwide sweep targeting suspects accused of wiretapping top officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media said.

The chief prosecutor's office in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 54 people, of whom 40 have been arrested so far, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

The operation started with early morning raids in Ankara, but raids were also carried out simultaneously in 19 other cities including the Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

Earlier this month, a Turkish court remanded 17 policemen in custody to face trial as part of an investigation into the illegal wiretapping.

The authorities accuse police of carrying out the eavesdropping at the behest of Erdogan's arch-foe, US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom the president alleges concocted a corruption scandal that rocked the government late in 2013.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of setting up a "parallel state" within the Turkish administration and of trying to topple him, blaming Gulen's supporters within the police and judiciary for a corruption inquiry that rocked the government late in 2013.

In the course of the scandal, wiretap recordings of senior officials leaked onto the Internet. Thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors have since been removed from their posts.

A Turkish court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for Gulen — for the second time — and journalist Emre Uslu, a former police officer who is reportedly based in the US, for allegedly wiretapping 101 people.

Pro-government newspapers claimed that Uslu is behind a whistleblower account on Twitter that has spread corruption allegations against the government and revealed the details of raids against Gulen supporters before they were carried out.

Uslu has rejected the claims.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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