Reports reveal FETÖ-linked companies involved in espionage
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULNov 22, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Nov 22, 2016 12:00 am
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), known for its reach into almost every state-run agency and institution, tried to seize power by its members in the military on July 15. Now facing dozens of legal cases on terror charges, FETÖ is accused of gaining access to confidential information with the purpose of using it for its interests and supplying state secrets to foreign intelligence services, an intelligence report published by the Sabah newspaper exposes.
Standing out among other terrorist groups that confine their activities to armed attacks, FETÖ disguises itself as a religious group focusing on charity work. It has been implicated in illegal wiretapping, fraud, forgery, blackmail and last but not least, three coup attempts in 2013 as well as this summer. The intelligence report says IT companies run by FETÖ, which controls significant wealth through business conglomerates in Turkey and abroad, managed to gain access to critical information in the army, a state-run body monitoring telecommunications, law enforcement and defense companies. The companies are accused of espionage for foreign intelligence services, though the report does not elaborate on which intelligence services the companies used.
Many of those company executives and owners have fled abroad following the July 15 coup attempt, during which putschist officers loyal to FETÖ killed hundreds of people standing against them. Ankara has launched a nationwide crackdown on the coup plotters and their accomplices after the coup attempt was foiled. Thousands of people were detained and businesses accused of financing FETÖ were seized.
The intelligence report says companies working for strategic institutions operated by the state stole confidential information and at times even destroyed it to stall investigations.
Endersys Information Technologies is singled out as the largest company running intelligence activities on behalf of the terror group in the intelligence report. The company's clients range from universities and a state-run body tasked with organizing exams for the Air Force, Turkish National Police and Social Security Agency, where a database of information on all Turkish citizens is kept. In the defense sector, Endersys was contracted by Roketsan and Havelsan, which builds weapons systems for the army. The company's work includes providing cyber security, data storage and network administration among others and was accredited by the Turkish Science and Technology Council (TÜBİTAK), a science body that works on projects for military and intelligence gathering. TÜBİTAK was a long-time hub for Gülenists before its cadres were arrested on terror charges.
IT companies linked to FETÖ developed software for wiretapping and surveillance and supplied it to the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication (TİB), which was shut down in August on the grounds that it acted as an agency serving the interests of FETÖ, whose infiltrators in the TİB were accused of wiretapping unsuspecting citizens. The central surveillance authority, established as part of the telecommunication authority in 2005, was responsible for the determination of communications made by any telecommunication network, the evaluation of signal information, recordings, and also oversaw the implementation of the country's website blocking laws. It became an intelligence gathering base under the control of Gülenists, who tapped into private calls in illegal wiretapping operations. An investigation has revealed that some 130 million hours of audio data stored by the TİB went "missing" before its closure.
Endersys is a developer of Voitap, a wiretapping software once used by the TİB to wiretap online voice chats. The TİB employed the software between 2007 and 2014. It was designed by Murat Balaban, a Gülen sympathizer.
The intelligence report also implicates Martin Telekom, another IT company, in online wiretapping and points out ties between the company and Hasan Palaz, a former TÜBİTAK executive who is currently standing trial in a case of wiretapping targeting government officials.