IZMIR / ANKARA / GAZIANTEP / SANLIURFA, Turkey
The Turkish police arrested a total of 155 suspects for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, security sources said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in the Aegean Izmir province issued arrest warrants for 82 suspects, including 70 active-duty soldiers, for infiltrating the Turkish Armed Forces, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The suspects are accused of communicating with "covert imams” – senior FETO members – by payphone.
Izmir-based operations were carried out across 39 provinces, and 72 suspects were arrested.
Eight additional suspects were arrested in Gaziantep-based operations across seven provinces, security sources also said Tuesday.
Under a probe of the terror group’s infiltration of the Turkish Armed Forces, the suspects are accused of communicating with "covert imams” by payphone.
In Sanliurfa-based operations across 13 provinces, 19 suspects were arrested, security sources said on Tuesday.
The suspects, including a colonel and lieutenant colonel, were arrested as part of a probe of the terror group’s infiltration of the Turkish Armed Forces and gendarmerie.
Separately, a total of 44 former police officers were arrested in Izmir-based operations across six Turkish provinces, security sources said.
Izmir prosecutors had issued arrest warrants for 44 suspects over their communication with "covert imams."
Also in the capital Ankara, anti-terror police teams arrested 12 out of 20 suspects sought by warrant, all accused of using ByLock, the terror group’s encrypted smartphone messaging app.
Efforts to catch the remaining suspects are underway.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, judicial system, and education sector.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.