Pro-gov’t dailies report conflicting news on leaked audio on Syria

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Pro-government newspapers have been contradicting each other about a leaked audio recording that includes an alleged conversation between some state officials about a possible incursion into Syria.

The audio, which was posted on YouTube around noon on March 26, revealed a top secret conversation allegedly between Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun SinirlioIlu, National Intelligence Organization (MIT) head Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. YaIar Guler, who are heard discussing whether or not Turkey should conduct a military incursion into Syria ahead of Sunday’s local elections.

The pro-government AkIam daily claimed in its report published on April 4 that the Foreign Ministry had been wiretapped with the aid of a special drone which is capable of conducting audio surveillance as well as wiretapping the phone conversations of a certain address allegedly by the so-called “parallel structure,” a term that the government generally uses to refer to the faith-based Hizmet movement. The movement is inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

When no evidence was found to back up the AkIam’s claims on the leaked audio discussion, the pro-government dailies Sabah and Takvim dailies put forward on Thursday a claim that the wiretapping was done via a bugging device installed in Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu’s telephone in his office. Those pro-government dailies also claimed this bugging device was installed by a ministry official who is allegedly affiliated with the “parallel state.”

The Sabah daily reported on Thursday that there was an important development in the espionage investigation launched after the leaked audio discussion between top state officials over Syria. The daily claimed the conversation was wiretapped via a bugging device installed in a telephone in DavutoIlu’s office and that the person who placed the bugging device in the telephone was revealed after a detailed investigation by MIT.

Stating that the spy was discovered to be a low-level personnel working at the Foreign Ministry, the daily also claimed the bugging device was installed just before the meeting between top officials and was immediately removed soon after the meeting. Sabah also claimed the link between this personnel and the “parallel state” was also discovered by MIT.

With those two reports published a short time apart, the pro-government media are contradicting each other’s reports over the leak on Syria.

Pro-government dailies have already come into the spotlight with their many one-sided reports on behalf of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) intensively since a major corruption scandal erupted on Dec. 17 of last year.

These recent reports by the pro-government Sabah and Takvim dailies have brought to mind the bugging device that was found in the prime minister’s office in 2012. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan announced on a live TV program on the evening of Dec. 23, 2012 that bugging devices were found in his office in his Ankara home, but he did not specify when the devices were found.

“Security units [the police] found those devices. They were placed inside the office in my house. Such things occur despite all measures taken to prevent them,” he stated. The pro-government media outlets had claimed that that bugging devices were found installed inside the telephones in ErdoIan’s office. However, no investigation has yet been launched into those bugging devices although two years has passed since the discovery of those devices.

Furthermore, those media outlets attributed this issue to the “parallel state” although they didn’t have any evidence to prove this claim.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)