Police captured nine women accused of membership of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in operations in ten cities yesterday. Suspects were "secret elder sisters", a term used to describe secretive female operatives of the group who served as handlers for the group's infiltrators in various places. Suspects captured yesterday were responsible for handling female police officers loyal to the group as well as coordinating the spouses of male police officers linked to the terrorist group.
FETÖ is accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup bid that killed 249 people across the country. Although dominated by men, the terrorist group used women as well, particularly to spread its propaganda and handling the private lives of its male members. So-called "sisters" played an important role in recruiting new followers and arranging marriages for cult-like group's single members, multiple investigations show.
FETÖ is accused of orchestrating multiple coup attempts in Turkey, and its members face terrorism charges. According to prosecutors, the group used its infiltrators in the military to run the coup attempt, overseen by its nonmilitary point men. Led by its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen, the group long disguised itself as a religious charity before moving to seize power in Turkey with two coup attempts in 2013, using its infiltrators in law enforcement and the judiciary. After the 2013 attempts, Turkey designated it a national threat and escalated a crackdown on the group. The terrorist group faces almost daily operations targeting its members across Turkey.