Gülenist globetrotter passed through US

RAGIP SOYLU @ragipsoylu
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Published 29.04.2016 20:00

The former Prime Ministry Security Directorate Security Systems Bureau chief, Serhat Demir, who became a fugitive globetrotter after being accused of placing bugs around the home and official residence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, passed through the U.S. before traveling around Europe.

Demir, who is accused of having links to the shadowy Gülen Movement and its leader, Fetullah Gülen, had conducted what he said was a routine check at then Prime Minister Erdoğan's Ankara home and residence in 2011 and took advantage of the distraction to place electronic surveillance equipment including listening devices all around the apartments. The Prime Ministry technical search team, under Demir's orders, placed bugs under an encrypted telephone. Two officials found guilty last year received seven-year jail sentences each last June. The investigation of another three fugitive suspects, including Demir, was separated.

Demir, who later transferred to the Şanlıurfa Police Department, took medical leave on Jan. 22, 2014, telling his superiors that he would be traveling to Germany for treatment. According to an American source who talked to Daily Sabah, he actually left for the U.S., where Gülen currently lives in an enormous complex in Pennsylvania.

The source, who did not want to divulge his name, said Demir had stayed in the U.S. until May 5, 2014, before flying to Munich, Germany.

Meanwhile, further investigations revealed that while illegally tapping Erdoğan, Demir was in close contact with Hasan Akın, the chief clerk at the Turkish Embassy in Washington at the time. Akın, who is said to be a martial arts expert, played a key part in Demir's appointment at the Prime Ministry Security Directorate. It is said that Akın, receiving direct orders from Gülen, had communicated the directives, including the purchase of surveillance equipment, to Demir, who eavesdropped on prime ministerial discussions in November and December 2011.

Akın was arraigned before a Turkish court last February and denied all charges and the court had decided to release him pending trial. Akın, who remained at his post in Washington until 2015, was in the U.S. when Demir visited the country. It is unknown whether the two met, and so are Demir's movements until his arrival in the U.S. It is possible Demir stayed in Germany a while before moving onto the U.S. Demir's messages on Facebook, which he actively used until the summer of 2015, show him commenting on a martial arts club in Recklinghausen, Germany on May 21, 2015. His latest Google Plus profile update shows him in Dublin, Ireland.

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