Ankara 2nd High Penal Court announced on Monday the release of three out of 28 suspects in illegal wiretapping probe against the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB) and Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).
In the first trial of the lawsuit, which was heard on Monday, TIB'S former vice president, Osman Nihat Şen, former head of IT systems İlhan Elieyioğlu, Ferhat Saraç, Bülent Kocagürbüz, İsmail Bakar, Halil Çiçek, Hamza Demirezen, İmran Ergüler, Özgür Ören, Ayhan Yeni, Ali Osman Tekin and Yunus Şahin gave testimonies.
Following the attorney's defenses, the court gave an interim decision stating that Ferhat Saraç, Ayhan Yeni and Bülent Kocagürbüz were discharged. Özgür Ören, one of the suspects under arrest, fainted after hearing the verdict and first aid was carried out in the hearing room.
The 28 suspects, 12 of whom were under arrest, were accused of being affiliated with an armed terrorist organization, disclosure of top secret governmental information for political or military espionage, attempting to stage a coup and overthrow the government, authorizing and accepting illegal wiretapping, contaminating and wiping out system data.
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had previously prepared an indictment against 28 people working at TUBITAK and TIB on accusations of illegal wiretapping of encrypted and regular phone lines. In the indictment, complainants were President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, former Minister of Family and Social Policies and current head of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Fatma Şahin and Minister of Development Cevdet Yılmaz. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and 29 others, many of which are ministers, have been added to the indictment as injured parties. In the indictment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Staff, Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Security General Directorate were also stated as the injured parties.
The investigation commenced by the Gölbaşı Public Prosecutor's Office was previously sent to Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. The indictment prepared by the Bureau of Crimes Against Constitutional Order was accepted by the Ankara 2nd High Penal Court.
The Gülen Movement, considered as a national threat by the Turkish government due to its widespread illegal practices through its infiltrators in the judiciary and police as well as state agencies, is accused of wiretapping hundreds through the Selam Tevhid investigation from 2011 to 2013.The transnational movement led by Fethullah Gülen has over 140 private schools around the world, including hundreds of charter schools in the U.S. It has been accused of infiltrating state institutions in Turkey and trying to overthrow the democratically elected government. Government officials have continuously expressed their determination to continue to lawfully fight the movement.
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