Arrests warrants issued for 125 FETÖ suspects in Turkey

Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 125 suspects across the country over their alleged links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), authorities said.

Police launched simultaneous operations in 28 provinces after the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in western Izmir issued arrest warrants for 66 suspects for allegedly being involved in FETÖ’s infiltration into the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The authorities said 53 of the suspects, including 48 active-duty soldiers, were arrested during the operations.

The arrest warrants were issued for the suspects for allegedly having contact with “covert imams” of the terror group by payphone. The nickname is used for FETÖ’s secret handlers for its infiltrators.

In separate operations, 17 additional suspects were arrested across the country after prosecutors in Istanbul issued warrants for 47 alleged FETÖ members.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued the arrest warrants in a similar probe into FETÖ’s infiltration into TSK.

FETÖ, which controlled a network of infiltrators in the Turkish army, is responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured more than 2,200 others.

Since the coup attempt, thousands of military officers have been arrested.

The police continue to carry out operations to capture undetected infiltrators of the group in the army.

Apart from the infiltration probes, prosecutors in the capital Ankara also issued arrest warrants for 12 teachers, including eight on duty, who are accused of contacting the terrorist group using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app used by FETÖ for communications and recruitment efforts

ByLock was discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group, whose criminal activities have been under the spotlight since two coup attempts in 2013. The National Intelligence Directorate (MIT) uncovered that the messaging app was apparently programmed or modified for the exclusive use of the group’s members by someone linked to FETÖ.

According to media reports, FETÖ-linked staff working in a powerful intelligence department of the Turkish National Police were the “architects” of the app, or rather its modification to serve the purposes of the group. A collection of intelligence officers has been accused of controlling the private app used to deliver group leader Fetullah Gülen’s messages to his followers, as well as to instruct members on how to carry out plots against people deemed foes.