Wiretapping in Turkey 'embarrassing' says deputy PM

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Arinc says investigations have revealed the surveillance of tens of thousands of people

Arinc says investigations have revealed the surveillance of tens of thousands of people

KONYA - Wiretapping in Turkey has gotten out of control and those responsible must be brought to account, Turkey`s Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said on Saturday morning.

One of the most senior voices in the Turkish cabinet, Arinc said investigations into the country`s national telecommunications authority revealed that tens of thousands of people had been wiretapped and that the recordings had been preserved.

"These are embarrassing charges for Turkey; I hope that those who conducted illegal wiretappings will be held to account," he said.

Wiretapping scandals have made headlines in Turkey since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in late 2012 that a "bug" had been found in his office.

In February this year, a series of recordings featuring Erdogan speaking to a number of high-profile figures surfaced in social media.

Erdogan called some of these recordings authentic, some others “fabricated”.

Arinc also commented on the release of former armed forces chief Ilker Basbug, who was convicted last August of plotting to topple the government as the head of `Ergenekon` - an alleged secret network of hard-line nationalists.

"I welcome the release verdict. We have always been against lengthy and indefinite periods in pretrial detention," Arinc said.

The constitutional court ruled on Thursday that the rights of Ilker Basbug were violated, which opened the way for his release on Friday.

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