ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Police in Turkey arrested 43 people over their suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, security officials said on Friday.
The Ankara police conducted simultaneous operations in 33 provinces and arrested 33 FETO suspects, said an official on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
This came after the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 53 suspects, including 19 active duty soldiers, as part of probe into the terror group’s infiltration of the Turkish gendarmerie force.
According to a statement by the prosecutor’s office, an investigation was initiated after the suspects were found to be communicating via payphones with covert imams – senior FETO members who infiltrated the Gendarmerie General Command.
Furthermore, in an Istanbul-based operation launched in nine provinces, police arrested 10 FETO-linked terror suspects, according to a security official.
As part of a probe into the FETO terror group, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued arrest warrants for 12 suspects.
The suspects were found to be involved in the terror group’s crypto structure in the judiciary. Documents including organizational notes and multiple digital materials were seized in the raids.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and 2,734 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.