17, including police chiefs and bureaucrats, arrested in Izmir-based police operation

A total of 17 people including former police chiefs and bureaucrats were arrested by a court on charges of acting beyond their legal authority early on Monday. Of a total of 44 who were detained as part of an izmir based operation on Nov. 3, 36 were referred to izmir 3rd Penal Court of Peace for arrest, after which 17 of them were arrested and 19 released. The arrest had allegedly took place as part of an investigation into a spy ring, whose members stand accused of obtaining classified military information to sell to third parties. The arrested persons include former izmir Police Chief A.B., former izmir Deputy Police Chief M.A.i. and other bureaucrats. The izmir Public Prosecutorand’s Office released a written statement on the operation in which it claimed the suspects are members of the and”parallel structure,and” a phrase coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to refer to followers of the Gandulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots initiative inspired by the ideas of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen. Erdogan made the elimination of the and”parallel structureand” a priority after a major corruption scandal involving people in his inner circle came to public attention with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time of the scandal, framed the corruption investigation as a and”plot against his governmentand” by the Hizmet movement and foreign collaborators.
In 2011, the izmir Chief Public Prosecutorand’s Office launched an investigation into the spy ring, whose members stand accused of obtaining classified military information to sell to third parties. The suspects are also accused of hiring foreign sex workers to send to military officers. The sex workers would illegally obtain personal information about the officers and blackmail them into providing the spy ring with classified information. The group is based in izmir but reportedly has branches in provinces including Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Antalya, Muila, Manisa, Zonguldak and Ordu.
The indictment by the izmir Chief Public Prosecutorand’s Office about the case states that the gang had a complicated structure and that it carried out activities to damage the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the National Intelligence Organization (MiT) and the government.
Then-Deputy Prime Minister Bandulent Arinandc said during an interview in 2013 that he was examining documents seized by police as part of an operation against a military espionage gang and that he was considering becoming a co-plaintiff in the case against the gang. Some of the documents are said to include personal information about Arinandc.
and”I see that there are things that concern me, too. There are also issues related to [Deputy Prime Minister] Ali Babacan,and” Arinandc said. Ministers and members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government expressed their support for probes targeting gangs with connections in the military at the time. Critics of the government later speculated that the AK Party used the probes as part of its project to tame the TSK, which had dominated Turkish politics for decades.
After Erdogan launched a campaign against the Gandulen movement after the Dec. 17 scandal and redesigned the police and the judiciary, police launched investigations against the bureaucrats, members of the judiciary and police who had carried out investigations against major criminal networks, some of them targeting Erdogan and members of his government.


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