Prosecutors prevented from seizing disks in espionage case


Retired Col. İbrahim Sezer, being escorted by officers here, is the alleged leader of the espionage gang inside the naval forces.

It has been revealed that military officers at the Foça Naval Base in İzmir prevented two prosecutors investigating the espionage and blackmailing allegations concerning the Turkish navy from seizing the hard disks of two computers on the grounds that they contained “very confidential military information.”

Police teams were also prevented from entering the naval base for a search in the same case. The İstanbul 11th High Criminal Court has distributed the additional folders of evidence of the indictment regarding military espionage and blackmailing to lawyers. The additional folders have revealed that the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office sent a notice to the İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office asking them to conduct a search of the home and office of Staff Col. Mehmet Koray Eryasa, who is a suspect in the military espionage case. Upon this demand, the İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office commissioned two prosecutors who went to the Foça Naval Base with police officers to search the suspect’s office. However, police officers from the İzmir Police Office were not allowed to enter the naval base.

Military officers continue to hinder civilian prosecutors from carrying out investigations in military zones. In the latest such case, an officer at the Foça Naval Base wouldn’t permit police, who had a warrant, to search the office of a naval colonel who is on trial on espionage charges

When prosecutors entered Eryasa’s office, they wanted to seize the hard disks of two computers there; however, military officers prevented them from doing so, saying the hard disks include “very confidential military information.” The prosecutors sealed the hard disks and submitted them to military judge Melih Yıldırım at the Foça Naval Base and sent the minutes of the search to the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office. The espionage gang, allegedly led by retired Col. İbrahim Sezer, established a prostitution ring to extract vital state security information from high-ranking officers and senior bureaucrats through the use of blackmail for the purpose of selling sensitive information to foreign intelligence services. The 250-page-long indictment on the gang mentions 56 suspects, including Sezer. The court also ruled to keep 16 suspects under arrest. The first hearing in the case will be held on April 20.

The remaining suspects are either retired military personnel or civilians, such as Ahmet Lütfi Varoğlu, head of the International Cooperation Department of the Defense Industry Undersecretariat; Yücel Çipli, who served as the head of a department in the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) in the past; and TÜBİTAK employees Mehmet Seyfettin Alevcan and Merdan Metin.

The indictment refers to the gang as a criminal organization, claiming that its leader is retired Col. Sezer. Admirals Şafak Yürekli and Fahri Can Yıldırım have also been indicted and been accused of aiding the criminal organization. According to the indictment, the gang told the women involved in the prostitution ring to have abortions if they got pregnant. The indictment also say girls under the age of 18 were also among the women used by the gang.

Name of Erzurum stadium hosting 2011 Universiade changed

The name of the stadium which hosted the 2011 Winter Universiade in the eastern province of Erzurum has been changed from Cemal Gürsel Stadium to “Yeni Erzurum Stadium” (New Erzurum). Erzurum Provincial Sports and Youth Provincial Director Fatih Çintımar announced yesterday that the name of the stadium was changed with the approval of Sports Minister Faruk Nafiz Özak. Çintımar said four different alternative names were offered to Sports and Youth General Director Yunus Akgül and the “New Erzurum Stadium” was chosen with consensus. The signboard bearing the new name of the stadium will be put up in a few days, he said. The Winter Universiade which ran between Jan. 27 to Feb. 6, was the largest ever winter sports event held in Turkey. About $600 million was spent on the construction of the modern facilities in Erzurum. This amount is also remarkable as it is the largest investment in sports in the history of the Turkish Republic. The games were organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

In the meantime, Çintımar announced that he will resign from his post tomorrow to be able to run in the general elections of June 12. He said he wants to become involved in politics as part of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

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10 March 2011, Thursday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

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