Turkish Court Orders Arrest of 12 More Police Officers in Wiretap Probe
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Turkish court ordered the formal arrest of 12 more police officers, including the former head of Istanbul's intelligence unit, pending charges they may have illegally wiretapped Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, media said.
The detention of 115 police officers in overnight raids earlier this week ratcheted up a power struggle between Erdogan and his erstwhile ally, Fethullah Gulen, an influential Islamic scholar based in Pennsylvania, whose followers took up key posts in the police and judiciary during Erdogan's 11 years in power.
The alliance began to crumble in 2010 and spilled into the public in late 2013 when police arrested the sons of three cabinet ministers on corruption allegations and audio recordings of Erdogan, his family and ministers that allegedly depicted them committing wrongdoings were leaked on YouTube.
Fuat Ali Yilmazer, who oversaw intelligence for Istanbul police and is accused of forming and leading a criminal gang, was among those formally arrested, CNN Turk reported. Others are accused of illegal wiretapping, forging documents and espionage.
Eight others were arrested on Friday, Reuters reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the probe into wiretapping would likely reach the judiciary.
Erdogan, who is running for president in an Aug. 10 election, had promised a "witch hunt" against the "parallel state," the name he gave Gulen's followers in the bureaucracy.
He has accused them of a litany of crimes, including organizing 2013 mass anti-government protests and using the corruption charges in an attempt topple him in a coup.