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Dozens of anti-Erdogan police arrested in Turkish graft sweep

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip ErdoganMore than 50 police officers around Turkey were arrested Tuesday as part of a corruption probe involving the prime minister.

The police were held on suspicion of illegal wiretapping and forming a criminal gang, Deutsche Welle said.

Most of those arrested Tuesday were “officers who held key positions in the investigation into alleged corruption in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle,” the report said.

One of the officers detained was the former head of the Istanbul police’s antiterrorism unit, Omer Kose, according to local TV reports.

A government spokesperson said detention orders were issued for 116 police and so far 67 have been arrested.

The arrests followed early morning raids on about 200 addresses across Turkey.

Local TV showed the arrested police officers being led away in handcuffs, Deutsche Welle said.

Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper said raids were carried out in 22 provinces across the country.

“The suspects are accused of forming a criminal organization, espionage, illegal wiretapping, forgery in official documents, violation of privacy, fabricating evidence and violation of secrecy of investigation,” the report said.

Corruption allegations against Prime Minister Erdogan were first published in December. Since then, four cabinet ministers have resigned.

Erdogan has said the graft probe is a plot to overthrow him and his government, orchestrated by a Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen.

Gulan has denied any involvement.

Turkey will hold its first direct presidential election on August 10.

Erdogan is still considered the front-runner, Deutsche Welle said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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