Turkey launches new raids over Erdogan eavesdropping case
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkish police on Sunday, February 8, launched a new wave of raids to round up suspects accused of wiretapping the communications of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials.
Istanbul prosecutors issued warrants for 21 police officers of whom 16 have been arrested so far, the official Anatolia news agency said.
NTV television showed pictures of several suspects being roughly led away by plainclothes police.
The raids were focused on Istanbul but also took place in the western city of Afyon and Zonguldak on the Black Sea, Anatolia added.
Among those targeted were the former chiefs of the Istanbul anti-terror branch Omer Kose and Yurt Atayun, it said.
The authorities accuse the police of carrying out the eavesdropping at the behest of Erdogan's arch-foe, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, in a bid to implicate the Turkish strongman in corruption allegations.
Turkish police have over the last months carried out numerous raids against former top police officials accused in the case.
Gulen, who rarely makes comments in public, wrote in an opinion piece published Tuesday, February 3, in The New York Times that Turkey's leaders are taking the country on a path towards "totalitarianism".
The Turkish authorities last week also seized control of a bank linked to Gulen in a move the opposition denounced as a scandal that would undermine investor confidence in Turkey.
Suspects previously arrested have been accused of planting bugs to eavesdrop on Erdogan and other top officials while he was prime minister up to August 2014.
Leaked tapes emerged in February 2014 on which Erdogan allegedly could be heard telling his son Bilal to dispose of some 30 million euros ($37 million) in cash. Erdogan has dismissed the recordings as a "vile montage". – Rappler.com