Turkish police yesterday detained 19 on-duty and retired military officers for links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is blamed for last year's bloody coup attempt.
The detentions stem from an investigation by the Chief Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul, which is conducting a probe into users of Bylock, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used by members of the secretive group. A total of 43 detention warrants were issued by the Chief Prosecutor's Office and operations were underway when Daily Sabah went to print. Police raided dozens of locations in Istanbul and the capital Ankara to capture the suspects.
FETÖ, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, is accused of orchestrating the foiled putsch bid that killed 249 people on July 15, 2016. Through its infiltrators in the army, ranging from low-ranking officers to generals, the terrorist group sought to seize power and kill President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to prosecutors. Strong public resistance against the coup plotters is credited for quelling the putsch attempt. FETÖ had already been subject to numerous investigations and trials in the wake of its first two attempts to topple the government in 2013, when thousands were detained and arrested for links to the terrorist group under a state of emergency that was declared after the coup bid.
It is not clear whether the detained military personnel were active in the coup attempt, but a string of confessions from officers detained in other investigations indicate that FETÖ's point men instructed them to "follow the orders" for the coup on July 15.