Espionage in Turkey Runs Wild
In Turkey, espionage is running wild and free like the bird with which the country shares a name. An espionage gang was recently revealed to have used blackmail to get top-secret information about the country’s various security projects. And now, it’s been revealed that this same gang has installed covert cameras on the premises of Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council. The cameras were placed there to record all of the employees as they work on their various projects to later be used for blackmailing purposes.
An investigation into this case began when an anonymous tipster wrote a letter to police and legal advisors in 2010. Upon the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that this military espionage gang had been covertly monitoring 1,048 people working at the Scientific and Technological Research Council For extremely personal reasons such as their religious beliefs, ideological outlook, sexual orientation and other personal data. The investigators discovered several bugs, hidden cameras and recorders, hidden microphones, and various other types of covert devices were installed in several places in the Scientific and Technological Research Council’s Marmara Research Council facility, located near Istanbul in Gebze.
The investigating detectives have revealed that the Marmara Research Council facility, which includes a 157-bed hotel and a 150-bed guesthouse, had hidden recording devices, eavesdropping devices and hidden cameras in almost every room. A list of the 1,048 people recorded at by the gang and their devices confirm this, as some people have the note, “We have recordings on him made at the institute.”
The investigators say that the military espionage gang had these devices in order to blackmail several of the high-ranking officials at the Scientific and Technological Research Council. The gang was trying to extort information regarding several of Turkey’s current security projects. They even have an archive of male employees caught in compromising positions with women.
The same investigators working in this case are also investigating Ergenekon, another gang who is believed to be trying to overthrow the government. A number of people — including Yücel Çipli, a security officer at the Scientific and Technological Research Council – have been arrested in connection with the gang and its crimes.
A Scientific and Technological Research Council employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Radikal newspaper that a purging operation was started at the Scientific and Technological Research Council after Çipli’s arrest. The witness said, “After the arrests at TÜBİTAK, security officers B.Ş., E.S., K.A. and T.F.A destroyed the footage archive. Between Nov. 13 and Nov. 30, they lit fires every Saturday and Sunday around the site of the trash containers near the TÜBİTAK campus, burning CDs, computer hard disk drives, recordings and documents.”
The account makes sense, as the Scientific and Technological Research Council administration failed to find any security camera recordings of the facility made prior to 2011 after the cataloguing scandal emerged. The investigators will now look for bugs and other covert listening devices in the Gebze building. Meanwhile, security officers known to have had a close relationship with Çipli were reassigned to new positions at different locations.
In related developments, Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Nihat Ergün promised that any losses the victims who were catalogued or blackmailed by the gang might have suffered will be compensated. He said in response to a parliamentary query on Tuesday, “Anyone who makes a claim will be compensated.”