Police detained 15 military officers in nationwide operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) yesterday. The suspects, all serving officers, were wanted by the Chief Prosecutor's Office in Balıkesir, a western province. Operations were carried out in Balıkesir and seven other provinces as well as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), to capture the suspects. Police did not disclose the identities of suspects but media outlets reported that one of them held the rank of major.
The suspects are accused of having ties to the terrorist group and secretly communicating with them via pay phones.
Operations started earlier this year against FETÖ military infiltrators who used pay phones to get in touch with their handlers, commonly referred to 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 bureaucracy. Through its infiltrators in police and judiciary, it first tried to topple the government in 2013 but failed. It tried again on July 15, 2016, this time using its members in the military. Strong public resistance thwarted the coup attempt that killed 250 people.
Since the coup attempt was quelled, authorities detained or arrested tens of thousands of people linked to the group and hundreds of thousands were dismissed from their public sector jobs.
FETÖ's leader Fetullah Gülen, who currently lives in the United States, is accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. Adil Öksüz, a senior FETÖ figure responsible for group's military infiltrators, is accused of executing the coup plot with the aid of the group's infiltrators, from generals to lieutenants. Gülen, Öksüz and other coup plotters face aggravated life sentences in ongoing coup trials.
In related news, a gendarme unit in Edirne, a northwestern province bordering Greece, nabbed two FETÖ suspects trying to cross into Greece yesterday. The suspects were Ebubekir E. and Yasir U., two former employees of the National Intelligence Directorate (MİT) who were fired from their jobs for their links to the terrorist group. The two men had outstanding arrest warrants when they were captured after a brief chase on foot by gendarme patrolling the border. Since the latest coup attempt, hundreds of FETÖ members sought to cross into Greece, a favorite destination for FETÖ members for its lax treatment of terror suspects hailing from Turkey.