Police officers linked to the Gülen Movement falsified evidence to wiretap top officials, journalists and academics as part of its espionage efforts to weaken the government, according to an Istanbul court
The ongoing investigation carried out by the Istanbul Prosecutor's Office against agents of the Gülen Movement within the police force has revealed that the "wiretapping recordings were misused to give false information to the judiciary."
Over 100 Gülenist-linked police officers were detained last week in an investigation carried out under the scope of spying allegations where thousands of people including the prime minister, the president of Turkey and top-secret state meetings were unlawfully wiretapped under a fabricated terrorist organization case called "Tawhid-Salam." A total of 31 people including Yurt Atayün, the former director of Istanbul Police Department's Counterterrorism Unit, were sent to prison pending trial for approving wiretapping requests that are prohibited by the Turkish law.
Eight other suspects received probation, on the condition that they remain in the country.
The reason for the arrests was outlined in four-pages and noted that numerous journalists, academics, and writers were monitored, while 238 people, along with 13 pious foundations, associations and cultural centers, mosques and TV stations were also monitored.
Likewise, it was expressed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's confidential conversations with leaders of other countries were wiretapped and his conversations with ministers were also unlawfully recorded.
More importantly, the document stated that Faruk Koca, a former AK Party deputy's phone conversations with Taner Yıldız, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Hakan Fidan, the undersecretary of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were wiretapped and decoded into a text document. It was also noted that a significant portion of the aforementioned communications had serious import in terms of state security and must have been kept confidential. It also pointed out that the printout of the wiretappings referred to Hakan Fidan as a terrorist with the code name "Emin." Likewise, AK Party's Vice President Numan Kurtulmuş's phone conversations with his advisor regarding the coup in Egypt were also recorded and printed.
Findings suggest that it is impossible for the suspects to be unaware of the content of the recordings as they have worked for the police forces for a significant amount of time and have signed numerous documents requesting wiretapping and tracking. It was ruled that there is strong evidence that the suspects have intentionally committed a crime as they were aware of the content and exposed state secrets with the purpose of military or political espionage.
The ruling also stated that the lawyers of the suspects have intentionally abused their position and did not provide a case of defense over the four-day period. Each suspect had three lawyers, adding to confusion and delays, and one lawyer stated that they will appeal the arrest of 11 suspects, arguing that there is no concrete evidence to back up the allegations and claiming that their clients were under serious psychological pressure.
Those who were released also made a press statement in front of Çağlayan Courthouse expressing that they have not done anything wrong and claiming the procedures were unlawful. They also argued that the Gülen Movement is not involved in the investigations.
Commenting on the incident, Turkey's Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ stated that the procedures regarding the investigation are clearly outlined by law and that numerous media organs in Turkey intentionally try to sway people's perception and distort facts and claim that the investigation is unlawful. He expressed that the law will prevail in the end despite allegations and underlined the fact that defamation campaigns will not be able to overrule the existing law.
The Minister of National Defense İsmet Yılmaz has also commented on the case stating that it is the courts' duty to investigate allegations pertaining to the wiretapping of the MİT, which poses an espionage threat. He noted that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the ministers and top level state meetings have been unlawfully wiretapped, which needs to be immediately addressed. He further remarked that any sort of actions contradicting the law will eventually be tried and prosecuted by Turkey's judicial system.
Recently, a report prepared by the Interior Ministry stated that the unlawful wiretappings were conducted in a systematic, planned and organized manner to reach a specific goal.
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