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Arrest warrants target 41 officers including police chiefs in 22 provinces

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An İstanbul-based operation was conducted in 22 provinces on Thursday, reportedly based on arrest warrants for 41 officers, including police chiefs, on charges of “illegal wiretapping.”

The operation was administered by the İstanbul Police Department Organized Crime Unit.

The indicted policemen are accused of illegally wiretapping phone conversations during while they served in the Kırklareli Police Department in 2011.

Those detained so far have been taken to the İstanbul Police Department.

The operation is considered to be part of the ongoing government crackdown on the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, there have been many similar police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.

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