12 more Gülenist officers detained over espionage

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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12 more Gülenist officers detained over espionage

Within the scope of the fourth wave of investigations looking into illegal wiretapping activities of alleged Gülen Movement members within the Police Department, Adana Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants for 12 police officers on Thursday. According to an official statement by prosecutors, the detainees were arrested for "unlawful acquirement of personal data, failing to destroy data that had to be destroyed, violating the privacy of personal life and forging official documents."

Furthermore, with the Supreme Council of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK) in the process of evaluating Gülen-linked prosecutor Zekeriya Öz's case regarding his controversial extravagant five-day vacation in Dubai, where he spent over $32,000 (TL 69,260) at a luxurious hotel, allegedly paid by businessmen.

Among those detained by the Counter-Terrorism Branch of the Prosecutor's Office are senior police officers including Mehmet Karabörk, former Chief of Riot Police Main Branch Office, Yusuf Ziya Toprak, former Chief of Counter-Terrorism Branch, and many others who have served in prominent positions in the police force. Like others who have been detained under the scope of the espionage investigation, the police officers were first brought to a hospital for a medical examination while special efforts were made to ensure that journalists could not record or take photos of the detainees. Mehmet Karabörk used to be a chief prior to the Dec. 17 corruption investigations, while others detained in Adana were also held prominent positions. Other officers came from various cities including Diyarbakır, Istanbul, Konya, Kayseri and Şanlıurfa.

The investigation started in several cities including Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey and Konya in central Turkey. As of now, various investigations have taken place throughout Turkey including Istanbul and İzmir, where a number of citizens have filed complaints about being unlawfully wiretapped by members of the Gülen Movement in the police.

As the investigations continue, there is also a potential controversy with the Supreme Council of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK) as a number of Gülenists in the institution attempt to question the validity of the process by launching an investigation against prosecutors İrfan Fidan and İslam Çiçek for conducting the investigations. So far, a total of 49 officers have been detained as part of the probe investigated by Fidan.

HSYK is also in the process of evaluating Zekeriya Öz's case, a prosecutor who has openly criticized the government and sided with the Gülen Movement following the Dec. 17 operation despite the fact that he is obliged to keep a neutral and apolitical stance as a judicial authority. On the other hand, Turkish media outlets have consistently touched upon Öz's controversial extravagant vacations in Dubai where he paid over $32,000 (TL 69,260) for five days at a luxurious hotel, allegedly paid by businessmen, which drew significant criticism from the public. The ongoing investigation regarding his extravagant vacation is expected to be finalized in the upcoming weeks according to media outlets. Recently, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ criticized Öz for threatening President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with death for his controversial remarks on Twitter. Öz alluded to Erdoğan when he said, "No one should desire dictatorship after the last century.

His end will be like Saddam and Gadhafi. No matter who adopts lawlessness pays the price." In response to these remarks, Bozdağ said that Öz has lost is impartiality as a prosecutor as he openly took a side rather than portraying an unbiased and objective image.

More importantly, Bozdağ said that such people who claim to work under the rule of law cannot act in such a biased manner with personal motivations rather than seeking to stick by the law to protect public order.

Fethullah Gülen, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., leads the Gülen Movement, which operates in hundreds of countries across the world. They are currently accused of attempting to infiltrate Turkish state institutions including the police and judiciary as well as unlawfully wiretapping thousands of people, including journalists, politicians, top secret state meetings, and more. The government has made it clear that infiltrators will be held accountable following Erdoğan's election to the presidency and Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is the new prime minister, has also promised to clean Turkish state institutions of infiltrators.

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