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Major detained, 3 others and 1 admiral sought in military espionage case

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A major was detained in İstanbul on Saturday, while three majors and two admirals are being sought on a prosecutor’s order in an allegedly fabricated military espionage investigation, which is considered to be part of a government crackdown on certain groups.

İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office is overseeing the investigation, in which the suspects are accused of “fabricating evidence” in order to support allegations of military espionage and frame a number of people. Synchronized police raids took place in 10 provinces.
Major A.Ö.  was detained in İstanbul and then transferred to the western province of İzmir for testimony.

According to the indictment, the suspects in the Naval Forces are accused of framing other military officials asserting that they used female escorts to acquire confidential information from the Turkish army. The indictment also says that the suspects have profiled military personnel based on their ethnical identities.

The original military espionage trial handled by the İzmir 5th High Penal Court previously resulted in the acquittal of the 356 suspects, who were accused of leaking information through escorts. Following the acquittals, another investigation was launched against those who oversaw the trial. Former İzmir Police Chief Ali Bilkay was also among those indicted.

The investigation is considered to be a part of the ongoing government crackdown on the sympathizers of the Gülen movement. Since a corruption scandal erupted on Dec. 17, 2013, the government systematically targeted 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 Dec. 17 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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