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Turkish court remands 17 policemen in custody

15 February 2015 17:35

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A court in Turkey has put 17 police officers under formal arrest as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged forging of official documents and eavesdropping on top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Saturday, a court in the country’s largest city of Istanbul remanded the policemen on accusations of forming a terrorist organization, recording private data, breaching the right to privacy, engaging in espionage and trying to overthrow the Turkish government.

Omer Turanli, a lawyer for the policemen, said, “This ruling was not made in this courthouse, it was made in dark tunnels, and these judges and prosecutors are just playing their role, as if in a theater.”

Turanli also said he would continue his efforts in the legal battle for the police officers until the end.

The 17 officers remanded on Saturday were among the 21 police forces who were detained in a series of operations carried out in 12 Turkish cities last week. The other four were later released but banned from leaving the country.

Crackdown on police

Dozens of serving and former Turkish police officers have already been detained over the past few months as part of an investigation into eavesdropping on Erdogan and other key individuals, including businessmen, politicians and government officials.

Many of the police officers arrested were reportedly involved in an anti-government corruption probe and have been removed from their posts.

Corruption scandal

Turkey plunged into a political crisis after dozens of government officials and prominent businessmen close to then prime minister and current President Erdogan were arrested in an inquiry on graft charges on December 17, 2013.

The scandal, which turned into a very serious challenge to Erdogan’s rule, led to a cabinet reshuffle.

Erdogan denounced the corruption scandal as well as a string of leaks in the media, saying they were engineered by supporters of his rival, Fethullah Gulen, to undermine his government.

Gulen, who has lived in a self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has repeatedly denied any involvement.

On December 19, an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for the self-exiled US-based cleric.

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