World Bulletin / News Desk
Details are emerging of a major police operation in Istanbul and other Turkish cities where officers are being sought in connection with alleged illegal wiretapping.
Thirty-three police officials were being sought in the early hours of Monday on charges including wiretapping, espionage and forgery. The anti-graft operation took place across several police departments in Istanbul and in 16 Turkish cities.
The operations follow a December 2013 probe which led to the arrest of several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading business people.
All those detained in December were later released pending trial.
The Turkish government has denounced the December probes as a "dirty plot" constructed by a "parallel state," a group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police.
Turkey's new president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led a purge on the police force since operations on December 17 targeting his allies raised the alarms of corruption and bribery within his AK Party-led government.
A separate operation which saw Turkish security forces raid a truck owned by the Turkish intelligence agency MIT while on its way to Syria in Turkey's Adana also increased accusations against the Hizmet Movement.
In April, a top secret meeting between former Foreign Minister (now Prime Minister) Ahmet Davutoglu, MIT chief Hakan Fidan and the army's second-in-demand was leaked on to the internet, prompting a temporary ban on video-sharing website Youtube.
Another scandal was exposed when it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens had had their telephones tapped illegally.
The scandal was taken to new lengths when listening devices were found hidden in plugs in the Prime Minister's office.
Erdogan has indicated that Turkey may request Gulen's deportation from the US to Turkey to face questioning regarding allegations of his role in leading a spy ring which has not only infiltrated the police force, but also the judiciary and the government itself.
Fethullah Gulen went into self-imposed exile in 1999 in the US, fleeing Turkey with a forged green passport only designated to citizens with diplomat status. The government cancelled Gulen's passport earlier this year.
A former ally of the ruling AK Party, Gulen's movement and the government fell at odds originally over the sending of the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza in 2010.
In 2012, the gap between the two widened when prosecutors known to be loyal to the movement attemped to put MIT chief Hakan Fidan on trial.
In late 2013, Erdogan announced plans to close down prep schools if they cannot transform themselves into private schools. The movement, which gains a bulk of its income from these schools, claimed that they would not be able to make the transformation in time.Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2014, 11:11