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Turkey reveals scale of eavesdropping by spy agency

Published on Feb 22, 2014 9:59 PM

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey's spy agency eavesdrops on more than two thousand people, mostly foreigners, the deputy prime minister said on Saturday as Parliament debated controversial new espionage powers.

"As of today, National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) eavesdrops on 2,473 people. More than half of them are foreigners," Besir Atalay told reporters in Ankara.

He said the espionage - which currently requires an individual court order for each target - was primarily used to uncover suspected "terrorists".

Parliament began debating a new bill on Saturday, aimed at giving the agency a free hand in carrying out undercover missions and surveillance in Turkey and abroad without the need for a court order.

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