Wiretapping scandals prompt suspicions about gov’t pressure in Turkey
Wiretaps target judiciary
As wiretapping scandals have become almost routine in Turkey, the public perception of these incidents has created a growing climate of fear in substantial segments of the population, prompting thoughts that “everyone wiretaps each other, everyone plots against each other.”
Although most of the eavesdropping incidents are linked to the ongoing Ergenekon investigation, the frequency of leaks of private phone conservations, including secret tapings – generally to pro-government media sources – has created tension in Turkey’s already polarized political climate.
The victims of wiretapping and secret video taping include a broad range of prominent figures, from former CHP chief Deniz Baykal to Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ to Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin, under whom the Ergenekon probe is being carried out.
The Supreme Court of Appeals and Council of State have recently claimed that their facilities had been tapped and demanded an examination of their switchboards, claims that came amid the conflict between the government and the judiciary over judicial independence and the controversial constitutional amendments.
For Emine Ülker Tarhan, the chairwoman of the Judges and Prosecutors Association, or YARSAV, such incidents are kinds of “dirty social engineering projects” carried out by dark powers trying to manipulate the public.
“Such illegal wiretaps against members of the judiciary aim to put pressure on the judiciary, which is deemed an obstacle to the government’s ambitions to change the regime,” Tarhan said. “These illegal wiretaps are constantly reported in certain pro-government media outlets with ruling government-affiliated statements.”
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