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Turkey arrests ex-top policeman in eavesdropping case


Recep Guven

Recep Guven

Turkey has placed under arrest the powerful former police chief of the southeastern city of Diyarbakir and nine others as part of a case into eavesdropping of top officials, reports said Saturday.

Recep Guven, who headed police in Turkey’s biggest majority Kurdish city, is accused with abuse of office in bugging the communications of dozens of politicians, presidential advisors and journalists without observing proper procedure.

He was remanded in custody late Friday by an Ankara court along with nine other former senior police officials from all over Turkey, reports said.

Guven denied the charges, saying before his arrest: “The police in the past were proclaimed as heroes, now they are accused of treason.”

Seventeen police had been arrested earlier in raids, but seven were allowed to go free under judicial control ahead of trial.

Dozens of people have already been arrested as part of a wide-ranging probe into alleged police eavesdropping of top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The government believes the bugging sparked the stunning corruption allegations against Erdogan and his circle that broke in December 2013, claims the authorities vehemently deny.

Erdogan blamed the scandal on his former ally turned arch foe, the preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania in the United States.

But rights groups and Turkey’s Western partners have expressed concerns over the crackdown against allies of Gulen in the judiciary and police forces.

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