21 suspects released in Turkey 'wiretapping' probe

All suspects detained in Friday's simultaneous operations by Turkish police across 25 provinces

21 suspects released in Turkey 'wiretapping' probe


A court in Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday ordered the release of 21 police officers who were detained Friday by police on charges of illegally wiretapping hundreds of Turkish officials, politicians and journalists.

The 21 suspects were taken under police custody during Friday's operations conducted across 25 provinces, including Samsun, Kastamonu, Mus, Van, Izmir, Bingol, Konya and Batman on the instructions of the Ankara chief public prosecutor.

They suspects -- all retired or dismissed police officers with the Ankara Police Department's intelligence bureau -- have been charged of "forgery of official documents", "being membership to a terrorist organization", "violation of confidentiality of communication", and "slander".

The suspects are accused of illegally wiretapping the communications of 432 people, including businessmen, prominent journalists, bureaucrats, politicians from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, between 2007 and 2009.

Opposition parties, members of the Turkish armed forces and the police force, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, and the Constitutional Court -- the country's top court -- are also said to have been wiretapped illegally.

Among those wiretapped are also current Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes, former deputy premier Abdullatif Sener and former Cabinet minister Erdogan Bayraktar.

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