Prosecutors yesterday issued detention warrants for 27 military officers for links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
The suspects include five current and 22 former members of the Turkish Naval Forces. The detention warrants were issued by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office. Three of the suspects are former colonels while the others are lower-ranked members of the Navy.The suspects were discovered through their communication with FETÖ's secret imams, members of the terrorist group who use code names and act as its point men and/or handlers for the group's infiltrators in the military.
Tens of thousands of people were arrested or detained and more were dismissed from their public sector jobs following the coup attempt that killed 250 people. The FETÖ "imams" are accused of orchestrating the attempt by ordering infiltrators to seize power as Turkey sought to weed them out in 2016.
Authorities say FETÖ employs several communication methods to relay messages to its covert members in the military, law enforcement, and the judiciary. Suspects sought in yesterday's operations allegedly contacted their FETÖ handlers via payphones to avoid detection. Hundreds were already captured by security forces after investigators sifted through payphone records linking FETÖ's "civilian" members to military officers in other cases related to the terrorist group.
In another case related to FETÖ, authorities issued arrest warrants for five suspects linked to the now-defunct Karşı newspaper, a mouthpiece of the terrorist group. An Istanbul court yesterday approved indictment for the staff of the newspaper, which was behind the online release of forged audio recordings during the terrorist group's first coup attempt in 2013.
The court ordered the arrest of Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, Değer Özergün, Mehmet Aydoğmuş, Onur Kala and Murat Kazancı and merging the case with that of Eren Erdem, editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Erdem, an elected lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) after he left Karşı, was arrested in June after his immunity was lifted. Prosecutors are seeking prison terms up to 18 years for defendants for the membership and aiding a terrorist group. Karşı was a mouthpiece for the coup attempt in 2013 and is known for a barrage of reports based on fabricated recordings of government officials, allegedly supplied to Erdem by FETÖ-linked police chiefs. FETÖ tried to topple the government by implicating people close to the government in a graft probe in 2013 and released a series of fake audio recordings linking senior officials to corruption.
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