It has been determined that a social media account used to target government figures and leak information in 2013 was created in the police’s intelligence headquarters in Ankara’s Çankaya district.
The account, called “bascalan,” made headlines for releasing recordings allegedly of phone conversations of statesmen during the December 2013 corruption cases targeting senior government officials.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has repeatedly said the wiretappings were not authentic and were manipulated by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
During the corruption probes, four former ministers, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler, European Union Minister Egemen Bağış and Urbanization Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar were accused of involvement in a large-scale graft schemes, also embroiling several businessmen. The charges were later dropped amid government pressure.
At the time, voice recordings were released from several social media accounts created just before the December 2013 investigations, claiming that they belonged to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his inner circle and some ministers.
“Bascalan” is Turkish for “prime stealer,” playing on the title “prime minister” and criticizing then-prime minister Erdoğan.
The term was also used by some opposition voices after the corruption probes in December 2013.
According to recent investigations by the authorities, the “bascalan” account was created by an individual, identified only by the initials M.B., who accessed it within the police headquarters’ intelligence unit in Ankara.
The authorities were also provided with the IP address where the account was created.
It has also been found that many social media accounts believed to be used in the corruption campaign were created in different addresses on the orders of Gülen, the head of what prosecutors and the government call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).