Turkey, Economy, July 15 coup bid

62 ex-Borsa Istanbul staff held for alleged FETO links

Some accused face terror charges stemming from alleged use of ByLock messaging app linked to July 15 coup plot

12.05.2017
62 ex-Borsa Istanbul staff held for alleged FETO links

Ankara

By Halil Demir and Hanife Sevinc

ISTANBUL

Turkish police detained Friday 62 former employees of Borsa Istanbul -- Turkey's main stock exchange -- as part of a probe into the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). 

The suspects, who were arrested in simultaneous operations in six provinces including Istanbul, Ankara, Giresun, Balikesir, Bursa and Kayseri, are among the 102 suspects against which arrest warrants were issued by the Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office, according to a police source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The suspects were dismissed from their jobs over alleged links to FETO, and tipped off to the police by Borsa Istanbul Inc., the source said.

They are accused of "being members of a terrorist organization", with some blamed for using the ByLock messaging app which is said to have been used by members of FETO during the July 15 coup attempt.

Some others reportedly opened accounts with FETO-affiliated Bank Asya in 2013 and 2014 upon the instruction of the group's U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gulen. 

Operations are ongoing to arrest the remaining 36 suspects, four of which are known to be abroad, the source added.

Islamic lender Bank Asya's banking license was cancelled on July 22, 2016 -- seven days after the failed coup bid -- by Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). The banking watchdog had ruled for the complete takeover of all shares of Bank Asya by the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund in May 2015.

Further arrests in separate Ankara-based operations

Sixteen people, who were either administrative or teaching staff at FETO-affiliated schools, were arrested in a separate series of operations later on Friday, a police source in Ankara said.

The simultaneous raids were carried out as part of a probe into the closed schools led by Ankara Golbasi Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The suspects, who were arrested in Ankara-based operations in 12 provinces, are among the 38 against which arrest warrants were issued, the source said.

They are accused of using ByLock, banking with Bank Asya, as well as having links with FETO's "top management". 

Operations are ongoing to arrest the remaining 22 suspects.

The ByLock smartphone app is believed to have been cracked by Turkish security agencies months before the coup, allowing them to identify tens of thousands of apparent FETO supporters.

The government said U.S.-based FETO leader Fetullah Gulen masterminded the failed coup, which left 249 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. 

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary. 

In the wake of the coup attempt, tens of thousands of FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, justice system and education sector.

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