World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office said voice recordings on YouTube purportedly of Erdogan telling his son to dispose of large sums of money on the day news broke of a graft inquiry into his government were fake and "completely untrue".
In the recordings, a voice supposedly of Erdogan can be heard asking his son to remove the money from his home.
However, doubt was raised over the authenticity of the recording as it was supposedly taken while Erdogan in Ankara, when in fact he was in Konya addressing a crowd at the time.
"The recordings, which were released via the Internet this evening, accompanied with the allegation that they were a telephone conversation between our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son, are completely untrue and the product of an immoral montage," Erdogan's office said in a statement.
"Those who created this dirty conspiracy targeting the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey will be brought to account within the law," it said.
Erdogan held an emergency meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, Interior Minister Ekfan Ala and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan after the recordings appeared, senior Turkish officials said.
Turkey's government's spokesperson Bulent Arinc on Monday described prosecutors' requests and court orders for the wiretapping of senior government officials as "illegal".
Arinc claims the wiretapping was conducted by a "parallel state" which allegedly has links within Turkey's police force and judiciary.
"Right now I am only speaking on the information we have been able to receive from a file prepared by two prosecutors. All these (wiretapping) requests and (court) orders are completely illegal," he said.
The Turkish dailies published a list of ‘victims of illegal wiretapping’ on Monday, which is reported to amount to around 7,000 people from different political spectrums - including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and at least one of his ministers as well as a number of journalists, academics, business leaders and civil society representatives.
Arinc said an investigation was underway into the claims of wiretapping of government officials.
"Once the investigation is completed, we will be able to share who did it, and why," he said.
Adding that the phone conversations of Anadolu Agency employees have also been wiretapped, Arinc said that every staff member who has been wiretapped deserves an apology.
Arinc also said that these recent developments justify once more the amendments, passed by the Turkish parliament, to the law governing the country's top judicial body, HSYK.
"This proves once more how important and justified the amendments to the HSYK law are," he said.
The wiretapping allegations first erupted after Turkey’s intelligence agency, MIT, found bugs in Prime Minister Erdogan’s office in 2012.
Monday's allegations and the published list are part of an ongoing political struggle that was sparked on December 17 between the Turkish government and a movement headed by U.S.-based congregational leader Fethullah Gulen, following an anti-graft probe, which led to high-profile arrests.
The term "parallel state" is used to refer to a 'state within state' associated with Fethullah Gulen's 'Hizmet' movement.
Turkey's politicians, public criticise mass wiretapping
Journalists, activists, writers and political party members called the wiretapping of thousands of peoples' phone calls, including high-profile figures, a "human rights scandal."
The alleged tapping took place as part of a legal file run by the Istanbul Caglayan Court of Justice under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Turkish Star daily editor-in-chief, Yusuf Ziya Comert, called wiretapping a judicial scandal because the prosecutors linked to the "parallel state" have created a file and included everyone whom they want to record.
A professor of law at Ankara University, Mithat Sancar, who was targeted by the wiretapping said: "This scandal is not just a routine tapping event, conversely it is a key part of a project plotted by the parallel state, the state itself or a power focus within the state, whatever you call."
Fermani Altun, chairman of Istanbul-based Alawite organization World Ahlul Bayt Foundation, said: "I think that there many other scandals but the perpetrators have been caught red-handed."
Journalist Nihal Bengisu also said that the tapping is a part of a big plot. "A terrorist organization called Salam has been fabricated and thousands of people have been tapped. If the December 17-25 operations were able to overthrow the government, these on the lists people would be arrested under the fabricated terrorist organization," said Bengisu.
Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesperson Huseyin Celik claimed wiretapping has no place in law, which he says only permits tapping in terrorism, drugs and arm smuggling cases.
"Wiretapping journalists, politicians, lawmakers, businessmen from different segments of society cannot be titled under an alleged terrorist organization. Tapping 7,000 people is for some other specific political purpose," said Celik.
Turkey's Deputy Parliament Speaker Sadik Yakut said that wiretapping is a violation of personal rights and asked for those who responsible to be tried.
Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2014, 16:49