ANKARA, April 17 Turkey's parliament on Thursday
approved a law boosting the powers of the secret service (MIT),
a move seen by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's critics as a bid
to tighten his grip on the apparatus of state as he wages a
bitter power struggle.
The changes ratified by parliament, which is dominated by
Erdogan's AK Party, give the MIT more scope for eavesdropping
and foreign operations, as well as greater immunity from
prosecution for top agents.
Control of the NATO member's security apparatus is at the
heart of a feud between Erdogan and Islamic cleric Fethullah
Gulen, a former ally based in the United States whose network of
followers wields influence in the police and judiciary.
Erdogan accuses Gulen's network of orchestrating a plot to
unseat him, tapping thousands of phones, including his own, over
years and using leaked recordings to unleash corruption
allegations against his inner circle in the run-up to a series
of elections. Gulen denies involvement.
(Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing
by Nick Tattersall and Robin Pomeroy)