Within the scope of an operation conducted against Gülen Movement linked police officers, over a hundred officers were taken into custody for their allegedly illegally wiretapping thousands of journalists, politicians, academics and other prominent figures.
The total number of detainees rose to 102 on Wednesday while 13 other officers are being searched after an arrest warrant issued by the Istanbul Public Prosecutors' Office.
An in-depth pre-dawn raid operation was conducted on Tuesday in part of the efforts to shed light on the creation of an imaginary terrorist organization by agents of the Gülen Movement led by Fethullah Gülen who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and has attempted to establish a controversial structure within Turkish state institutions including the police department and the judiciary.
According to the reports, the movement has wiretapped and issued an arrest warrant for 251 people including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Daily Sabah's editor-in-chief Serdar Karagöz and Daily Sabah's Ankara correspondent Ali Ünal for being members of the imaginary "Tawhid-Salam" terrorist organization which was fabricated by Gülenist agents for the purposes of spying.
The prosecutor's office ruled 'lack of grounds for legal action' and 'dismissal of charges' for 251 people who were accused of being a member of the imaginary terrorist organization. The scope of the operation was significantly widened throughout Tuesday when more officers around the country faced search and seizure and were detained while some of them were brought to Istanbul.
Amongst those arrested are Yurt Atayün, the Director of Counter-Terrorism Department at the time and his assistant Ömer Köse as well as Ramazan Akyürek who was the President of the Chief Inspection Board at Turkish National Police.
According to Ahmet Taşgetiren, a columnist at Turkish daily Star, the operations have revealed that the Gülen Movement operates in a different sphere from legitimate hierarchy of the state and paid allegiance to an actor outside the boundaries of the state. "The failure to notice the illegitimate structure within security forces may have led the police department to perform in a corrupt manner and ultimately deceive justice" said Taşgetiren, who expressed such an environment would easily lead to the spread of provocation and unrest while noting that Turkey was still experiencing the pain caused by the infiltration. More importantly, he pointed that it may have resulted in a system of judicial/security tutelage which would not be accepted by any state in the world.
In response to a question about the failure of infiltration attempts and if it would imply the arrival of a New Turkey, Taşgetiren stated that the state has started to liquidate agents of the Gülen Movement within state institutions while noting that the operations will be reviewed by the judiciary in the upcoming days. He expressed that there are serious allegations including spying and wiretapping of top government officials while noting that the movement's scope of influence extends to a number of institutions and the government is taking serious steps towards purging them. For instance, the National Education Institutions, Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council, municipalities and other departments within the government are going through a phase of purification, which according to Taşgetiren may take some time.
It is stated that the sole purpose of the Gülen Movement and their wiretappings was to suppress dissent and throw those who do not share the same views into prison in order to topple the democratically elected government. It is also noted that crucial amount of evidence was collected during the raids in 25 cities regarding the Dec 17 Operation also known as the Dec 17 coup attempt.
Fetullah Gülen, who currently lives in the U.S. in self-imposed exile leads the Gülen Movement which operates in hundreds of locations throughout the world via charter schools and other activities, and their activities have been subject to government scrutiny in Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, U.S. among other countries. They are currently accused of infiltrating Turkish state institutions to establish a "parallel state" which pays allegiance to Gülen. The movement on the other hand denies these claims and has radically changed its political stance since the government proposed closing prep schools in Turkey, which are mostly operated by the Gülen Movement, that is now allied with and supporting the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which previously persecuted revered Islamic scholar Said Nursi, who Gülen claims to base his ideologies on.