By Cemil Murat Budak and Serdar Acil
Turkish prosecutors on Friday have issued arrest warrants for 22 active serving and former soldiers, over their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind July 2016 defeated coup.
According to a statement from the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara, the warrants issued are aimed at personnel of the Turkish Air Forces -- including six former pilots.
The suspects are accused of communicating with FETO members, the statement said.
So far, eight suspects have been arrested in Ankara-based operations in 14 provinces.
FETO and its U.S.-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.
Separately, an Istanbul-based operation across 14 provinces saw the arrest of another 15 FETO suspects, according to a police source.
The arrests came after the provincial chief public prosecutor’s office issued warrants for 52 suspects for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted cellphone app used by coup-plotters.
The hunt for the other suspects is underway, the source added.
*Halil Demir contributed to the story from Istanbul