A Turkish court ordered on Friday the arrest of two key suspects who in the investigation on the illegal bugging of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s offices on charges of espionage while eight others suspected in the trial were released.
The two main suspects, former police chief Sedat Zavar and former police officer Ilker Usta, who were found as fugitives in Romania and extradited to Turkey on March 28, were sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment.
The probe investigates claims that the ministerial office of then prime minister Erdogan was bugged between the dates of Nov. 24, 2011 to Dec. 29, 2011 and Erdogan’s house in the Kecioren district of Ankara was bugged between the dates of Nov. 25 2011 to Dec. 29, 2011.
It alleges that bugging devices were found and placed in multi sockets in Erdogan’s home, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) headquarters, and the Office of Prime Ministry during a search conducted by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
The court decided to release the former head of the prime ministry’s security department, Mehmet Yuksel, Erdogan’s former security manager Zeki Bulut, former head of Turkey’s top science institution (TUBITAK) data processing center (BILGEM), Hasan Palaz and Hursit Golbasi, Ahmet Turer, Harun Yavuz, Seyit Saydam and Ibrahim Sari.
The file of three suspects, Ali Ozdagan, Enes Cigci and Serhat Demir, was ordered by court to be tried separate.
The bugging probe is a part of ongoing “parallel state” case which was launched on Dec. 14, 2014 against suspects in 13 provinces across Turkey for allegedly being affiliated with what the prosecutors describe as a "parallel state."
The “parallel state” is purported to be comprised of a group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police force, which are suspected to be part of the "Gulen movement" which is led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his supporters.