Arrest warrants were issued yesterday for 127 people linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Thirty-seven former and serving military officers were among those detained in nationwide operations. The operations mark the latest chapter in the ongoing crackdown against the group while trials for those actively involved in the coup attempt are underway. Prosecutors in Ankara asked for life sentences for 122 defendants in the coup trial.
The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 39 suspects, including 11 former employees of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies after they were accused of using ByLock, an encrypted cellphone app used by the terror group. Police have so far arrested 13 suspects during simultaneous raids conducted in the capital. More arrest warrants were issued in central Konya Province for 70 suspects, including 43 serving soldiers. The ongoing nationwide simultaneous raids conducted across 23 provinces resulted in the arrest of 37 suspects. The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in the western province of Izmir issued arrest warrants for 18 suspects, including 16 on-duty soldiers. Meanwhile, nine former and on-duty tax inspectors were held during an operation in southern Hatay Province for their alleged links to FETÖ. In western Bursa Province, five suspended and dismissed police officers were arrested for their alleged links to FETÖ. Additionally, a suspended pilot was held in central Eskisehir Province on suspicion of being a member of the terror group.
Meanwhile, prosecutors asked for aggravated life imprisonment for 122 people including helicopter pilots who carried out airstrikes in Ankara during the coup attempt. Also, 151 defendants, all members of the army's helicopter command, are being tried in the capital for their involvement in the attempt blamed on military infiltrators of FETÖ. Prosecutors' pleas will be followed by a new hearing on a future date where defendants will present their final defenses before the court announces its verdict.
Eighty-six defendants will be convicted of aggravated life imprisonment for one instance and 36 others will be convicted of up to 29 instances for aggravated life imprisonment if found guilty.
Defendants are accused of carrying out airstrikes targeting the presidential complex, army headquarters, the headquarters of the country's intelligence service, Ankara police headquarters and the offices of the country's main satellite provider TürkSat. One of the defendants is Uğur Kapan, a pilot who flew Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar to the prime minister's residence from Akıncı, an air base which was controlled by putschists on July 15, 2016. Akar was among the generals kidnapped by putschist officers and was held in Akıncı for hours before putschists were forced to release him as the attempt was foiled.