(AA) – Twenty-four members of the Turkish armed forces have been detained Sunday as part of an ongoing “parallel state” investigation in relation to another probe into the so-called “Selam-Tevhid” organization, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor has said.
Arrest warrants were issued for 34 military personnel. The prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said Sunday that police were still searching for the other 10 suspects.
The Istanbul prosecutor ordered the detention of the men Sunday on various charges of wiretapping, espionage, violation of privacy, storing personal data in violation of the law, forgery of official documents, forming, managing or joining a terrorist organization, as well as the charge of attempting to overthrow the government or preventing it from doing its duties.
Prosecutors maintain that an earlier investigation into an alleged “Selam-Tevhid” organization was used by “parallel state” members as pretext for wiretapping senior government figures, including the prime minister, National Intelligence Organization or MIT chief, cabinet ministers as well as journalists through serving state officials.
Eleven police officers, including Istanbul’s former Anti-Terror Division Director Yurt Atayun were arrested in the first operation against the “parallel state,” which was reportedly launched in late July 2014.
In February 2015, the prosecution extended its operation and ordered the detention of 29 more police officers, 17 of whom were found guilty of forming, managing or joining a terrorist organization, political or military espionages and attempting to overthrow the government or preventing it from doing its duties.
To date, 28 people have been arrested within the scope of the investigation as part of the “parallel state” probe.
According to the Turkish government, the “parallel state” or “parallel structure” refers to a purported group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country’s institutions, including the judiciary and police, who are allegedly trying to undermine the elected Turkish government.
The ongoing operation against the “parallel state” has resulted in the detention of dozens of police officers and the reassignment of hundreds of other officers across Turkey.