ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities yesterday detained dozens of police officers accused of illegally wiretapping top officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The swoop came after over 100 people were arrested last month — of whom 31 were remanded in custody and charged — in an eavesdropping scandal linked to a dispute between Erdogan and a former ally turned opponent.
In the latest sweep, at least 33 police officers were detained in 14 provinces across the country, Turkish federal television channels reported.
The operation started with an early morning raid on a police lodging in Istanbul, but raids were also carried out in cities in the Kurdish-majority southeast including Diyarbakir.
Television pictures showed police being led away by plain-clothes officers from their residences but the names of those arrested were not immediately disclosed.
Turkish news reports said that those arrested were less senior than those netted in the last raids on July 22, who included two former heads of the anti-terror department in Istanbul.
The arrests appeared to represent a new sweep against the movement of Erdogan’s former ally Fethullah Gulen in the wake of a corruption scandal that broke late last year implicating the prime minister and his inner circle.
Much of the evidence for the corruption allegations — which were denied by Erdogan — was obtained through wiretapping.