Forty-five suspected members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) were captured in operations in 21 cities yesterday. The suspects were among 84 wanted by the Chief Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul.
Most were members of the staff of the High Education Foundation, a nonprofit that served as an umbrella body for dormitories run by the terrorist group. The suspects are accused of recruiting students staying at the dormitories of the terrorist group. Operations were underway to capture the remaining suspects when Daily Sabah went to print.
FETÖ, blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 249 people, is known for recruiting members at a young age. Instructed and helped to enroll in military schools, law schools and police schools, the students formed the majority of FETÖ's infiltrators. Investigators say it was through the group's infiltrators in the military that the bloody putsch bid was carried out. In 2013, prosecutors, judges, police chiefs and officers associated with the group tried to seize power twice by implicating people close to the government in an anti-graft probe on trumped-up charges.
Thousands were arrested or detained after the coup attempt that was followed by a state of emergency still in place across the country. The trials of those actively involved in the coup attempt and nonmilitary members of FETÖ are underway. Prosecutors say the putsch bid was the work of civilian point men of the group's leader Fetullah Gülen who employed infiltrators in the army, from generals to lieutenants, to seize power. Gülen is the prime suspect in all FETÖ-related cases and remains at large, while most pro-coup soldiers are in jail. In yesterday's trials against FETÖ, a former police chief was sentenced to nine years in prison for membership in the group in the northwestern city of Tekirdağ.