European citizens wiretapped more than Turkish citizens

Published on Today’s ZAMAN, Istanbul, by ERCAN YAVUZ, 03 December 2009.

As the row continues between the government and several judges over claims that a chief public prosecutor and members of the Supreme Court of Appeals have been wiretapped for a long time as part of an ongoing probe into the clandestine organization Ergenekon, research conducted by the Ministry of Justice has revealed that several mature democracies in Europe are involved in more wiretapping than Turkey. The ministry addressed the claims by revealing the amount of wiretapping in France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

A study on the amount of the wiretapping in European democracies revealed that Turkey’s wiretapping law is based on French law. France is the most wiretapped country in Europe. In a comparison made with France, the UK, Germany and Italy, Turkey fared much better than these countries in the wiretapping of public officials and citizens suspected of criminal activity.

Wiretapping was made legal through laws adopted in Germany in 1968, Austria in 1974, Switzerland in 1979, the UK in 1985, Italy in 1988 and France in 1991. The Law on Fighting Criminal Organizations adopted by Turkey in 1999 also made wiretapping legal. However, the grounds for wiretapping were reduced through a change in the law in 2004 during the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) tenure … (full text).

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