Turkey

Turkey arrests 170 FETO-linked terror suspects

Suspects include active-duty soldiers accused of using payphone with alleged links to terror group's 'covert services'

Ismet Karakas, Halil Demir, Abdullah Ozkul, Mirac Kaya, and Adem Koc   | 12.01.2021
Turkey arrests 170 FETO-linked terror suspects

ANKARA/ISTANBUL/NIGDE/BALIKESIR, Turkey

Turkish security forces arrested 170 suspects nationwide 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 capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 13 suspects, including nine active-duty personnel, one senior member, and three dismissed sergeants.

The suspects are accused of communicating by payphone with alleged links to the terror group's "covert services" in the Turkish Land Forces Command.

Anti-terror police units have so far arrested 10 suspects.

Also in Ankara, arrest warrants were issued for 17 additional suspects for having alleged links to senior FETO members and using the terror group’s encrypted smartphone messaging app ByLock, said a security source.

Police teams have arrested 15 of the suspects, and continue to hunt for those remaining.

Separately, a total of 90 suspects were arrested in Istanbul-based simultaneous operations across Turkey's 33 provinces, said a security source.

Prosecutors in Istanbul issued arrest warrants for 118 personnel of the Turkish Land Forces Command, including 10 active-duty soldiers, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. 

They were accused of communicating by payphone with other FETO members, the source said. The hunt for 15 fugitive suspects is underway, while 13 of them were reported being abroad, the source added.

Separately, gendarmerie arrested 32 suspects in a series of simultaneous Istanbul-based operations across 15 provinces, said a security source.

Prosecutors in Istanbul issued arrest warrants for 51 suspects as part of a probe into the terror group's infiltration efforts into the Turkish Armed Forces, a source said.

The suspects, including a major, captain, sergeants, lieutenants, and others, were accused of communicating with the FETO members by payphone, the source added.

Six additional suspects were arrested in Balikesir-based operations across five provinces, security sources also said.

Prosecutors in the northwestern Balikesir province issued arrest warrants for eight suspects over their use of ByLock, the sources said. The hunt for the remaining suspect continues, the sources added.

Some 17 suspects were arrested in Nigde-based operations across seven provinces, said a security source.

Prosecutors in the central Nigde province issued arrest warrants for 17 female suspects for having alleged links to FETO's "covert structuring".

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

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