Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves at members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on February 18, 2014.(AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)
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The network of a U.S.-based cleric illegally tapped thousands of telephones in Turkey to blackmail and concoct criminal cases as part of a campaign of covert influence over government, a top adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.A lawyer for preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused by Erdogan of building a parallel command structure in police and judiciary, described the accusations as unjust and contributing to an atmosphere of "hatred and enmity" in Turkish society.According to Star newspaper, Erdogan adviser Yalcin Akdogan and others including the interior minister, the national intelligence agency head and politicians from various parties were among those whose phones were tapped over three years.The Yeni Safak daily, also close to the government, said thousands of people including Erdogan were bugged.Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, among those allegedly bugged, said he believed his phone was tapped for at least 2-1/2 years, describing such wire tapping as targetting all of Turkey and not just the AK Party.
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