Authorities issued arrest warrants for nine military officers and detained 24 police officers in nationwide operations targeting the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Suspects are accused of being infiltrators for the group, which is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, in the military and law enforcement.
The Chief Prosecutor's Office in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for nine military officers, including two on-duty and seven former majors, for their links to the group. Suspects, all from the army's Land Forces Command, were identified after they communicated with their handlers in FETÖ through payphones. Tens of thousands of people linked to the terrorist group were detained and/or arrested in the wake of the coup attempt that killed 250 people. Stepping up the crackdown against the group following the attempt, authorities have uncovered their secret communication methods. Operations started earlier this year against FETÖ military infiltrators who used payphones to get in touch with their handlers, commonly referred as "imams," and hundreds were detained in nationwide operations earlier. Investigations are still underway, and more infiltrators are expected to be detained in the coming days. FETÖ, which expanded its clout in Turkey over the past three decades, is known for its wide network of infiltrators in law enforcement, the military, the judiciary and the bureaucracy. Through its infiltrators in police and judiciary, it first tried to topple the government in 2013 but failed.
In the northwestern city of Bursa, police arrested 24 of their former colleagues for their links to the terrorist group. All were previously dismissed from their jobs for suspected affiliation with the group. Another wanted former police officer remains at large. Also in Bursa, police nabbed 3 civilian FETÖ members in "gaybubet" (absence) houses, the name given by the group to safe houses used to hide wanted members. One suspect was caught while trying to delete an encrypted messaging app in his cellphone after locking himself in a bathroom. Twelve others were arrested in Bursa in another operation targeting gaybubet houses on Saturday.