Nationwide operations were launched on Tuesday to capture 85 suspects linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Security forces had already detained 27 suspects so far when Daily Sabah went to print. All suspects are either military officers still serving in the army or former officers.
Arrest warrants were issued for suspects by the chief prosecutor's office in the central city of Kayseri investigating their links with "secret imams." The term refers to FETÖ's handlers for the terrorist group's infiltrators in the military.
Turkey says FETÖ, through its infiltrators in the Turkish Armed Forces, attempted to seize power on July 15, 2016. The July 15 coup attempt killed 249 people across Turkey and was quelled thanks to a strong public resistance against putschists.
Prosecutors in Kayseri say "secret imams" used payphones to keep their contact with FETÖ infiltrators secretly in the aftermath of the coup attempt. Ankara has declared a state of emergency in the post-coup period and thousands of people involved in the attempt were detained or arrested while a large number of officers linked to FETÖ were dismissed from the army.
Among the suspects wanted in Tuesday's operations, two were those dismissed from the army and two others were retired officers while six suspects were already dismissed from military schools where they were cadets.
Security forces carry out almost daily operations against FETÖ all across the country but the operations saw more detentions in recent months. This is partly due to more people coming forward to collaborate with authorities. Several officers linked to the terrorist group invoked a remorse law granting a reduction in their sentence to help authorities to uncover secret network of Gülenists in the army.
FETÖ, led by its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen, is known for its widespread infiltration in the law enforcement, judiciary, bureaucracy and military. It tried to topple the government twice in 2013 through its infiltrators in police and judiciary.