Security forces arrested 27 suspects on Monday during nationwide operations against the Gülenist terror group (FETÖ). The suspects are among 47 wanted by the authorities and a manhunt is under way to catch the others.
The General Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul has issued arrest warrants for suspects as part of an investigation into the infiltration of the group into the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Police launched operations in Istanbul and 13 other provinces to arrest suspects, including soldiers on active duty.
Suspects were identified through investigation of telephone conversations between military personnel associated with the group and their civilian “handlers”. The terrorist group is known to use public phone booths to contact their intruders in order to avoid suspicion.
Some of the suspects were identified through confessions from former FETÖ members arrested in previous operations. Confessions come from detained suspects who invoke a repentance law that allows defendants less penalties for exchanging information about terrorist groups. On Monday, a defendant on trial in southern Adana province was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison after invoking the law and working with authorities to divulge information about FETÖ’s university student recruitment program.
Those facing arrest warrants included 15 officers, five non-commissioned officers, officers expelled on suspicion of links to the FETÖ, former cadets and six civilians alleged to have served as their superiors. Suspects came from all branches of the TSK, from land forces to naval forces.
In another operation in the eastern province of Kars, three non-commissioned officers stationed in the province were arrested by intruders in the army on charges of membership in the FETÖ network.
The terrorist group attempted to seize power on July 15, 2016 with an attempted coup by its intruders in TSK, but the attempt was put down by strong public opposition and resistance from the military and police against coup plotters.