(photo credit: Courtesy)
A number of the 2,000 Turks who were subjected to wiretapping in 2007 allegedly following orders from Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Aslan Güner are preparing to take legal action, Turkish daily newspaper Taraf reported on Wednesday.
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According to newspaper, Gen. Güner ordered the purchase of a wiretapping system from Israel to monitor members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Gen. Güner's department, the General Staff’s intelligence department, did not have any legal authority to wiretap phones in Turkey.
A number of prominent Turkish figures including politicians, academics and actors, were subjected to the wiretapping. Author Orhan Miroğlu was amongst them.
“The common point of those whose phones were wiretapped is that they took the side of peace. They were wiretapped as if they were PKK members. This cannot be explained in any way. I will soon file a criminal complaint. The government should not remain indifferent on this issue,” he said.
Following the revelation, the General Staff posted a statement on its website yesterday morning, saying that an internal investigation had been launched to investigate the issue.
Gen. Güner himself addressed the issue on Monday at reception held on the occasion of Turkey’s Victory Day, denying any personal involvement.
“I demanded the launch of an investigation. The TSK [Turkish Armed
Forces] cannot wiretap phones within the country. That system was
purchased upon a decision by the Undersecretariat for the Defense
There are the signatures of the prime minister and the
chief of General Staff under this decision. The system was purchased
with the aim of fighting terror. The aim was to wiretap members of the
terrorist organization, but if someone did wiretap some others, as I am
not at the helm of that system at all times, this should also be
exposed. Whoever has done wrong will give an accounting for that,” he
was originally tipped off by a
military officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He told the paper that Israel had received a large amount of information about Turkish GSM mobile phone systems before supplying the wiretapping system. “All of Turkey’s GSM data is in the hands of Israel, and it can
wiretap us whenever it wants,” the officer said.