Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in AnkaraReuters

Dozens of top police officers have been detained in Turkey with spying and illegal wire-tapping allegations during a probe into corruption in prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle, according to CNN Turk.

At least 67 officers were held in 22 provinces around the country on suspicion of setting up a criminal organisation and illegally bugging phones. Most of those arrested held key positions during the graft probe that shook Erdogan's AK Party government.

Forty-seven businessmen and politicians, including the sons of three Cabinet ministers, were put in custody on corruption and bribery charges in December during a massive police operation. 

Erdogan blamed the movement of influential cleric Fethullah Gulen, in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, for the wave of high-profile arrests.

The outspoken prime minister accused the 70-year-old former ally - who commands a global empire of media outlets, private schools and charities - of trying to topple his government through a graft probe and to have built a "parallel state" in Turkey, infiltrating police and the judiciary.

Thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges and prosecutors have already been reassigned and dismissed since the espionage investigation - seen as a drive to purge Gulen's influence in Turkey - started.

Istanbul public officer Irfan Fidan, who is carrying out the probe, said that "despite having no evidence that a terror organisation" was founded, a total of 2,280 people were wiretapped for three years.

Among the suspects detained were Yurt Atayün, former head of the Istanbul police's anti-terror department and Ömer Köse, head of the anti-terror department at the time of the December graft probe arrests.