Turkey holds more police officers for spying

Second wave of raids launched on officers accused of conducting illegal tapping of PM and other officials’ phones.

The former head of Istanbul police's anti-terror department, Ali Fuat Yilmazer, is among those detained [AFP]

Turkish police have launched a second of wave of raids at police officers’ residences, detaining at least 25 officers suspected of conducting illegal wiretaps, according to the country’s state-run television.

TRT television said police teams stormed police lodgings in Istanbul and in 13 provinces across Turkey on Tuesday, taking 25 colleagues into custody. The state-run Anadolu Agency said police had warrants to arrest 33 people.

Last month, police detained more than a hundred officers in similar raids for allegedly spying on and tapping the ohones of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister, and other officials.

Most of them were later released but 31 were jailed pending trial over accusations of illegal wiretaps and forging documents.

Government officials have said the police operations are directed at followers of a moderate Islamic movement, led by US-based Muslim leader Fethullah Gulen, who have allegedly risen to prominent positions within Turkey’s police and judiciary.

Erdogan’s inner circle

Erdogan’s government accuses the movement of being behind a series of corruption allegations earlier this year which have targeted the government as well as Erdogan’s inner circle.

The government has removed thousands of police officers and prosecutors from their posts, including those involved in the corruption probes.

Erdogan, who is running for president in Sunday’s election, has cast the corruption probe as a “coup” to topple his government.

In a television interview late on Monday, Erdogan described the movement as a threat to national security and vowed to continue to crack down on it if he was elected.

Gulen has denied any involvement in the corruption probes.

Meanwhile, access to a Twitter account which has been anonymously posting alleged insider tweets critical of Erdogan’s government, was suspended in Turkey on Tuesday.

The move came after the account tweeted details of the second wave of the police operation hours before it was launched.

Source: AP