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Turkish security forces arrest 96 FETO-linked suspects

Suspects accused of being members of terrorist organization which orchestrated last year’s defeated coup

21.12.2017
Turkish security forces arrest 96 FETO-linked suspects

Ankara

By Sibel Ugurlu

ANKARA

At least 96 people were arrested across Turkey on Thursday for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year’s defeated coup, according to security officials.

In the central Eskisehir province, Turkish security forces arrested 10 suspects in simultaneous raids; arrests also took place in Antalya and Ankara. They were accused of using a smartphone messaging application, ByLock.

ByLock is an encrypted smartphone messaging app used by FETO members before and during last year's defeated coup attempt.

In another FETO operation in Eskisehir a former soldier was arrested. He was accused of being a so-called "regional imam" of the FETO group.

In the northwestern province of Bursa, 12 former soldiers were arrested while in another northwestern province, Kocaeli, 13 former soldiers were arrested in five different provinces.

The operations are still ongoing to find a former lieutenant who is at large.

In Mersin province, 31 suspects who were former soldiers of Turkish Naval Forces and Coast Guard Command were arrested.

In central Kirsehir province, the police arrested four FETO suspects including former teachers and the head of a FETO-linked dormitory.

In Antalya, two suspects who had already been standing trial on charges of “fraud by violating religious beliefs” were arrested. They were accused of illegally collecting on the pretext of a mosque construction and transferring the money to FETO-linked associations.

From Izmir, police started operations in 17 provinces to find 64 suspects who were former staff of FETO-linked universities in Sifa and Gediz as well as Dokuz Eylul and Ege universities in Izmir.

Twenty-three of the suspects were arrested.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 250 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.

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