More than 95 FETO suspects arrested across Turkey

Comedian, businessman, soldiers among those arrested during nationwide operations

More than 95 FETO suspects arrested across Turkey

By Omer Sut, Emrah Yasar and Mehmet Kumcagiz


At least 98 suspects were arrested during anti-terrorism operations across Turkey Friday for alleged links with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year's defeated coup, according to police sources.

Out of the total, 18 suspects were arrested from 14 provinces after the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in western Izmir province issued warrants for 41 suspects.

Turkish comedian Atalay Demirci and "imam of theater actors" Omer Pekin, who together allegedly performed for FETO’s Pennsylvania-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, were among those detained.

Pekin was arrested in Istanbul and was also accused of using the smartphone app ByLock that FETO members reportedly used.

A businessman in Bodrum district of southwestern Mugla province was also arrested for using the encrypted app, a police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said.

In another operation, 13 suspects were apprehended in central Eskisehir province on the charge of using ByLock.

Security forces also arrested four soldiers in five different provinces in a separate Mugla-based operation. The arrests came after the Mugla Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued warrants for seven suspects, including five military personnel.

Also, 13 suspects, including two women, were arrested after the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Black Sea province of Zonguldak issued warrants. A former soldier, teacher, police officer and doctor were among those held.

In another operation in central Kayseri province, three suspects, including a senior police officer were arrested. These suspects were also accused of using ByLock by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in central Kayseri province.

Five on-duty soldiers were also arrested during an operation in central Tokat province.

In another Tokat-based operation against FETO’s secret military and civilian structuring, 18 suspects were also arrested since Wednesday.

The operation was launched in 15 provinces, after Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Tokat issued arrest warrants for 22 suspects, including 18 on-duty soldiers and four civilians. Operation is ongoing for four others.

Sixteen others, including five women, were arrested during an operation in northern Samsun province. The suspects were also accused of using FETO’s smartphone software ByLock.

In another operation, 18 suspects were arrested in northwestern Kocaeli province. The arrests came after Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants for 20 people.

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

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