Turkish army intelligence head arrested in anti-govt website case

Lt. Pekin, who heads the Intelligence Department of the General Staff, turned himself in early on Monday and appeared before the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which ruled to arrest him.

Turkish army intelligence head arrested in anti-govt website case

Lt. Gen. İsmail Hakkı Pekin, for whom an İstanbul court last month issued an arrest warrant along with 13 other retired and active duty military officers over their suspected involvement in a plan to destabilize the government through an Internet campaign, was arrested on Monday.

Lt. Pekin, who heads the Intelligence Department of the General Staff, turned himself in early on Monday and appeared before the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which ruled to arrest him.

Some news reports said two others were also arrested but their names were not immediately available.

An investigation of propaganda websites began in 2010 based on evidence found in the home of retired Col. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, another suspect in the website case.

Later, an anonymous tipster from inside the military sent an email to inform the public and the prosecutors that the General Staff had established 42 websites for the sole purpose of disseminating propaganda about the government and religious communities.

The prosecution was able to uncover the initial order for the General Staff websites during the investigation. The order had the signatures of eight people, including those of Col. Cemal Gökçeoğlu and Col. Dursun Çiçek. The document was dated April 2009 and originated in the office of the deputy chief of the General Staff Operations Department, who was Gen. Hasan Iğsız at the time. An İstanbul high criminal court last week accepted an indictment into the websites.

The suspects in the propaganda website case are being accused of "attempting to overthrow the government" and of "leading and being a member of an armed terrorist organization." They are also accused of categorizing military officers according to their religious or political beliefs, possibly for future reference. Fourteen officers on active duty, four retired military officers and a civilian public servant are accused in the indictment.

The first hearing in the trial is scheduled for Sept. 12.

Cihan news agency

Last Mod: 05 Eylül 2011, 17:39
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