Istanbul prosecutors have brought formal charges against 19 former police officers accused of illegal wiretapping prominent figures. Istanbul's chief public prosecutor's office on Wednesday presented papers against the individuals who are accused of being linked to what the government describes as the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
Anti-organized crime police had raided a number of properties across 15 provinces, including Istanbul, on Saturday, detaining 21 people, of which only two were released. The operations are part of an investigation into unlawful wiretapping by the Parallel State Structure (PDY), which is allegedly run by Fethullah Gülen, a United States-based imam. The government says that Gülen is involved in plotting to overthrow the state.
According to prosecutors, the 19 suspects monitored more than 50 businesspeople and journalists for five years. The prosecution indictment said the former police officers planned the wiretaps in 2013 as part of the Gülen Movement's "attempts to dissolve the Turkish parliament."
On Monday, 56 suspects were arrested in the southwestern city of Isparta, including the former rector of one of the country's largest universities. In the eastern city of Elazığ, 11 people who were arrested last week for allegedly being part of the FETÖ were due to appear in court on Thursday.
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