January 27, 2015 / 6:19 AM / 3 years ago

Turkey detains 26 security officers over illegal wiretapping

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police detained 26 security officers on Tuesday on suspicion of illegally wiretapping politicians, civil servants and businessmen, Dogan News Agency reported.

The raids were a further salvo in President Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign against supporters of his ally turned arch-foe, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The chief prosecutor’s office in the western coastal city of Izmir carried out the raids, according to Dogan, a privately owned national news service.

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of setting up a “parallel state” within the Turkish administration and trying to topple him, blaming his supporters within the police and judiciary for a corruption inquiry that rocked the government late in 2013.

In the course of the scandal, apparently incriminating wiretap recordings of the then-prime minister, ministers and other senior officials were leaked onto the Internet.

Erdogan has cast the investigation, which led to the resignation of three ministers, as a “coup attempt” and in response he had thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors removed from their posts.

Last month a Turkish court issued an arrest warrant against Gulen on suspicion of heading up a criminal organization. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile but was for years an important Erdogan ally before their relations soured, denies any involvement in plots against the government.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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