Ankara, Nov 9 () - An investigation by the Turkish Interior Ministry has revealed that millions of pages of documents used to build an indictment in a 2012 espionage case were actually leaked through the Interior Ministry at the time.
Inspectors from the Interior Ministry discovered the documents in a database called “Pandora” were leaked by the-then head of the Information Technologies Department of the Interior Ministry, İlhan Uran, who had set up a special line that enabled him access to all of the information on Pandora, daily Milliyet newspaper reported on Nov. 9.
Through this special line, Uran was able to follow all significant correspondence. Uran also provided himself clearance to see all computers at the ministry, including the one used by the minister, when they were on.
The 2012 espionage case involved the trial of 357 people, including soldiers, accused of possessing secret military information and documents. Those defendants have been released but the case continues.
On Nov. 3, Turkish police detained dozens of people including senior police officers and civil servants allegedly linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s foe Fethullah Gülen. The prosecutor’s office in the western city of İzmir said it ordered the arrest of 57 people believed to be members of the “Gülenist terror group” on allegations they sought a purge of the army by engineering a 2012 espionage trial.
Gülen was the “number one” suspect in the latest investigation.
There are several cases against Gülenists, or followers of Gülen who are accused of building “a parallel structure” or “parallel state,” particularly through their followers holding influential posts in the judiciary and police.
The İzmir prosecutor’s office said in a statement there was “serious evidence” that the 57 suspects sought to use the 2012 case to orchestrate a purge in the state civil service and the military.
Tender for document scanning system
The Interior Ministry assigned inspectors around a year ago to investigate whether documents used as evidence in the military espionage case were “classified” and whether they were leaked from the ministry, Milliyet said.
The Prime Ministry had instructed all state institutions with a 2008 circular to set up Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) in line with the TSE 13298 certificate.
However, it took long for the Interior Ministry to set up this system, as it was completed by late August 2013, Milliyet said. Underlining that the military espionage case in İzmir started in May 2012, operations involving those documents in Pandora from 2008 to 2012 could not have been tracked yet, the report said.
Another striking point in the inspectors’ investigation was about a tender opened for an archiving document scanning module. The tender was opened when State Governor Mehmet Oduncu, who was detained last week in İzmir, was working as the head of the ministry’s IT Department and was aimed at archiving 10 million pages of documents by a private company
All units at the headquarters of the Interior Ministry personally delivered the documents to be archived “without any official report or protocol” to non-official workers of the private company which won the tender.
These documents were loaded on external hard discs and CDs which were later handed over to Mesut Kesen, a section chief at the ministry’s IT Department. External hard discs and CDs approved by Kesen were archived on the module.
This process had a “security failure,” the inspectors concluded. “[…] The documents taken out of the institution led to defaming and elimination of bureaucrats whose names were in the ‘so-called military espionage’ file and led to the placement of these documents taken out of the institution in the Pandora database by technically-equipped persons,” they said, according to Milliyet.
It is still not known where those external hard discs and CDs, on which 10 million pages of documents were loaded, are, while where the private company’s system used for copying database was is not known either, Milliyet said.