Turkish military says officers under arrest not charged with espionage
56 people including active duty military officers have been arrested in a series of operations launched against a gang accused of hiring foreign women as prostitutes for military officers, through whom they obtained military information, and then selling that information to third parties. There are 280 suspects implicated in the case launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in 2010.
The military released a statement on Wednesday saying that the arrestees stand accused of membership in a criminal organization and possessing secret information and documents.
The statement also said calling 400 military personnel including those on trial "spies" with the trial process incomplete is a violation of the presumption of innocence, one of the fundamental principles of law.
The military doesn't have any information on whether the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel obtained secret documents, and if they did, when they obtained them, what kind of documents they were and what their aim was in doing so, the military further stated.
"How come the military contains 400 spies? How come they were unnoticed?" the CHP asked in a recently prepared report concerning the case. The remaining 120 "spies" referred to by the CHP were implicated in a separate case completed this year that convicted a number of military officers on charges of membership in a criminal organization.
"The only institution to be blamed here is the General Staff," the CHP said in its report, calling on the chief of General Staff to resign.
The gang in question was reportedly headed by a 25-year-old woman studying at Pamukkale University in Denizli. In the first wave of operations against the gang in May, in which 20 people were arrested for involvement in the gang, police discovered a large number of military documents and other materials, including CDs that showed intimate relations between military officers and foreign women hired by the gang.
Police also seized confidential documents kept in military facilities dubbed the "cosmic room" and documents prepared by high-level military officers in the past that categorize members of the military according to their religious and ideological inclinations. Police also uncovered a military uniform and a military ID at the house of the suspected leader of the gang. The leader reportedly introduced herself as a noncommissioned officer to other military officers and had easy access to military facilities.