Turkey launches new operation against police, targets 21 officers

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SHAFAQNA- An İstanbul-based operation targeting 21 policemen who took part in an operation against an alleged Iranian-backed terrorist organization, Tawhid-Salam, was launched on Sunday, with detainment orders being issued against the officers.

Launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the new operation targets 21 former anti-terror policemen across nine cities, including İstanbul, Zonguldak, Nevşehir, Kırşehir and Afyon.

According to Sıddık Filiz, a lawyer of the policemen, the detainment orders were issued on charges of forming an armed terrorist organization, being members of the organization, being involved in the organization’s activities, military and political spying and attempting to stage a coup to destroy the Turkish Republic and hinder its activities.

“We are facing a new charge, attempting to stage a coup,” Filiz said.

In his remarks to Cihan, Filiz claimed that no new evidence has been presented and Sunday’s operation does not fall under due process of the law.

Filiz said that according to the detainment orders, the operation against the police officers was launched using voice recordings on two hard disks as evidence, which had been given to the Tawhid-Salam case prosecutor by police officers on Dec. 18, 2013.

“They are trying to present these [hard disks] as new evidence. … There is no new evidence,” Filiz said.

The lawyer also highlighted that the operation against the policemen was launched using the voice recordings on the disks as evidence, but the charges against the officers do not concern illegal wiretapping. “The prosecutor’s office called those who had been wiretapped to provide testimony and these people has been made complainants in the case,” he said.

Former Chief Commissioner Mehmet Işık and Commissioner Selman Yuyucu, who are among the 21 targeted policemen, were taken to Haseki Research and Teaching Hospital for procedural detainment medical examinations.

While being taken to the hospital, Işık said this is the third time he has been detained.

“Iranian agents have infiltrated the government but it is the nation’s sons [the police] who are going to jail,” Işık said, claiming all steps taken as part of the Tawhid-Salam investigation were legal.

The new operation also targets other police officers who were earlier detained on charges related to the Tawhid-Salam investigation and later released.

Işık, Gaffur Ataç, Yasin Akyar and Serhat Taner Doğan are among the policemen who were detained as part of the operation, Cihan says. Ataç and Işık were detained in July and later released. This is the first detainment for only five of the police officers targeted in the new operation, Filiz said.

Some policemen who were earlier arrested and are in Silivri prison are also reportedly included in the operation.

At least 100 high-ranking police officers have been detained in a series of synchronized raids more than 20 provinces since July. These officers were involved in an anti-corruption operation that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, as well as investigations into Balyoz (Sledgehammer), Ergenekon, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and Tawhid-Salam.

These operations against the police, which prosecutors say were launched based on allegations of spying and illegal wiretapping, are widely believed to be an act of retribution by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration for the anti-corruption investigations that went public in December 2013.

As a result of the graft probes, four Cabinet ministers had to resign, while dozens of people, including senior bureaucrats, the sons of three then-ministers and businessmen with close ties to the government, were detained.

The operations are also widely seen as targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, or Hizmet movement, which Erdoğan and government officials have described as a “parallel structure” within the state.

Erdoğan, who has described the graft probes as a plot against the government, has accused Hizmet of being part of the plot, without providing any evidence.

todayszaman.com

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