Turkey, July 15 coup bid

Turkey arrests 45 FETO-linked terror suspects

Arrest warrants out for 44 suspects over their links in leaking of 2011 judicial exam questions

Cemil Murat Budak, Serdar Acil and Murat Yuksel   | 22.01.2021
Turkey arrests 45 FETO-linked terror suspects

ANKARA/CANAKKALE/KONYA/BALIKESIR, Turkey

Turkish authorities on Friday arrested 45 people over their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

In the Turkish capital Ankara, prosecutors had issued arrest warrants for 44 suspects over their alleged ties in the leaking of the 2011 judicial exam questions to the FETO-linked candidates.

In a statement, Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office noted that the suspects became judges and prosecutors and were dismissed from their professions.

It added that they were also found to have been using terror group’s encrypted smartphone messaging app ByLock.

A total of 32 suspects were arrested in simultaneous operations across 23 provinces, it said, adding the hunt for remaining suspects is underway.

Meanwhile, in Turkey’s western province of Canakkale, three fugitive FETO suspects were arrested in the Yenice district, a security source said.

Provincial gendarmerie command carried out simultaneous operations to nab the suspects accused of being alleged members of FETO, said the source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

A number of digital materials and computers were seized during the operation, it added.

Also, 10 FETO-linked terror suspects were nabbed in the central Konya-based operations carried out by security forces across nine provinces.

Earlier, prosecutors in Konya issued arrest warrants for 13 people who are accused of being “covert imams” (senior members) of the terror group, it said.

The hunt for remaining suspects continued, it added.

Separately, Turkey’s Council of Judges and Prosecutors dismissed nine judges and prosecutors and suspended other four over their alleged ties with FETO, judicial sources said Friday.

In another operation against FETO's efforts to infiltrate the Turkish military, seven out of 19 arrested suspects were remanded in custody.

The remaining 12 suspects detained in the Balikesir-based operation conducted simultaneously in 10 provinces on Jan. 15 were released on bail.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated 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 the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar and Dilan Pamuk

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