Turkish Interior Minister: 425 inspectors are probing eavesdropping cases

Photo: Turkish Interior Minister: 425 inspectors are probing eavesdropping cases / Turkey

Some 425 inspectors are investigating 198 illegal eavesdropping cases believed to be carried out by the Fethullah Gülen community, or Hizmet Movement, the interior minister has said, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said 839 bureaucrats were under investigation with 72 criminal complaints already submitted to the courts.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency yesterday, Ala gave information about the ongoing investigation into the cases of illegal wiretapping and said there were 198 cases in 43 cities. Some 425 inspectors are looking into these cases and a total of 839 civil servants are under scrutiny, he said, adding 72 criminal complaints have already been submitted to the courts. So far, 195 civil servants have been dismissed while 562 bureaucrats have been moved to different positions and 2,316 bureaucrats have been relocated to other cities.

"Huge numbers of people have been eavesdropped on. State officials and top leaders have been eavesdropped on ... This can only be done by foreign spies. Foreigners, and foreign circles attempt to listen to them and we will take measures against them," Ala said, comparing the activities of the "parallel structure" to "espionage."

"There is a crime and the number of inspections is changing in the course of investigations. All of these [cases] are being investigated and getting deeper as [eavesdropping cases] appear in our cities as well. Turkey was facing a coup attempt," he added.

Investigations into the Gülen community were intensified after a number of phone recordings of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other high level government officials were leaked online through social media. These recordings appeared to reveal the network of corruption and graft connected to the criminal investigation launched on Dec. 17, 2013. The heaviest blow to the government came when a secret meeting on Syria at the Foreign Ministry was leaked through YouTube.

The government has repeatedly accused the Gülen community and its sympathizers within state institutions of plotting against the government.

"A parallel structure inside the state is unacceptable. This is not something sustainable," Ala said, admitting that it was the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that allowed the strengthening of Islamic structures within the state. "We have supported them; we have supported their civil society activities towards the people. We have created such an environment and they grew."

But the minister said this parallel structure could no longer be counted as a civil society organization and had transformed into a structure that aims to seize control of the state. "In the past, there were military coups, but now we are confronted with a bureaucratic coup," Ala said.

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