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Turkey bids to boost spy power

Turkey's government has sought parliamentary approval to boost the powers of the secret service, a move seen by critics of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as a bid to tighten his grip on the apparatus of state.

Control of the Nato member's security apparatus goes to the heart of a feud between Mr 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.

Mr Erdogan accuses Mr Gulen's Hizmet ("Service") 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. Mr Gulen denies involvement.

According to an initial draft, proposals before parliament include giving the National Intelligence Organisation more scope for eavesdropping and foreign operations, as well as greater immunity from prosecution for top agents.

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