National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Kaşif Kozinoğlu was arrested and sent to jail on Thursday on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization and seizing confidential state documents and sharing them with third parties.
Ergenekon is a clandestine criminal network accused of working to overthrow the government through large-scale chaos.
The MİT official testified to the chief prosecutor involved in the Ergenekon investigation, Zekeriya Öz, for approximately five hours on Thursday. The prosecutor questioned Kozinoğlu about claims that he illegally followed people and collected personal data about them. Kozinoğlu was also accused of keeping tabs on many individuals for illegal purposes.
Turkish police raided the homes and offices of 11 individuals, including Kozinoğlu, on March 4 in Ankara and İstanbul as part of the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon. In addition, the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court issued detention warrants for all of the suspects. Ten of them were taken into custody and interrogated by prosecutors involved in the Ergenekon investigation. Seven of them were later arrested. Kozinoğlu escaped detention as he was reported to be abroad at the time of the police operation.
Kozinoğlu's testimony to prosecutor Öz came shortly after he returned to Turkey from Afghanistan, where he had stayed for more than two weeks. There were earlier media reports that Kozinoğlu was a former MİT member, but new reports suggest that he is still on active duty and is responsible for gathering intelligence in the Middle East.
After the interrogation, Kozinoğlu was transferred to the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court for arrest on terror charges. He was later arrested and sent to the Metris Prison in İstanbul.
Documents seized from the offices of the Odatv news portal last month included notes allegedly prepared by Kozinoğlu. Among the documents was detailed information about the structure and activities of MİT as well as detailed intelligence notes about some members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
A Turkish daily claimed this week that Kozinoğlu kept tabs on MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and his family and shared this information with the owner of Odatv, Soner Yalçın. Yalçın is currently under arrest on charges of membership in a terrorist group and seizing and publishing confidential state documents.
Taraf reported on Tuesday that police seized a large number of documents at Kozinoğlu’s home and office during a raid last week. The documents included detailed personal information about Fidan and his family. They also showed whom Fidan regularly met with and the home addresses of his close friends. Photographs of Fidan and his family were also among the documents seized from Kozinoğlu’s home and office. The documents were reportedly prepared shortly before Fidan was appointed the undersecretary of MİT last year.
In the meantime, the MİT announced that an investigation has been launched into Kozinoğlu. The investigation is focused on claims that Kozinoğlu put the state’s security in danger.