Major among 7 arrested as part of ‘military espionage’ case

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An İzmir court has ruled to arrest 7 out of 9 people who were detained as part of an allegedly fabricated military espionage investigation, which is considered to be part of a government crackdown on certain groups.

Nine people were detained in an İzmir-based operation carried out in 9 more provinces across Turkey on Saturday.

Major H.Ö. and six others identified by initials M.K.C, H.K, Y.Ş, H.T, Ş.Y and F.D were arrested by İzmir 3rd Penal Court of Peace Judge Dilek Çeliktaş after İzmir Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Okan Bato ordered their detentions.

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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