Turkish security forces yesterday detained 15 military officers linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
The suspects were among 36 officers with outstanding detention warrants, and the manhunt to capture the other suspects was underway when Daily Sabah went to print.
Almost all suspects are on-duty officers. Warrants were issued by the chief prosecutor's office in the southwestern province of Muğla as part of a probe into the group's network in the army.
FETÖ is the main culprit in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 249 people. It is accused of using its infiltrators in the military to carry out the deadly attempt that was quelled thanks to a strong public resistance.
Suspects captured in yesterday's operations disguised their links to the group for a long time and were secretly in contact with FETÖ "imams" - the group's point men for coordinating infiltrators - through payphones to avoid detection.
One of the suspects detained yesterday was identified by the media as Lt. Col. Emin Keskin. Keskin was suspended following the coup attempt though it is not clear what charges he'll face. He was serving as deputy commander of a military airfield during the coup attempt.
The airfield in Muğla's Dalaman district was where a group of putschists planning to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refueled their helicopter. Erdoğan was vacationing in Marmaris, also in Muğla when two teams of elite soldiers, commanded by putschist Gen. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, surrounded the hotel where he was staying with his family.
Erdoğan, however, avoided the attempt as he found out about the attempt beforehand and flew to Istanbul where he rallied the public to "resist" the putschists. Keskin earlier testified as a witness in a coup trial and claimed his superiors ordered him to approve the refueling of the helicopter carrying putschists plotting the attack on Erdoğan.
Thousands of people, mostly military officers, have been detained or arrested following the coup attempt. A number of trials concerning the coup bid are ongoing since late 2016. Hundreds of officers involved in the attempt have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
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