Twenty military officers, including non-commissioned officers and a lieutenant, were detained yesterday in nationwide operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The suspects, all active-duty officers, were members of the Land Forces Command of the Turkish army. They were among 26 suspects wanted by the Chief Prosecutor's Office in the capital Ankara. Operations were underway to capture the remaining suspects.
They were identified in an investigation into their contacts with FETÖ members through payphones.
FETÖ is accused of using its military infiltrators for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people. The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt sped up the crackdown on the terrorist group's infiltrators.
Tens of thousands were detained or arrested and dismissed from their jobs in the public sector after the attempt. Some FETÖ members managed to flee abroad, while others are believed to still be hiding their ties to the group.
Security forces concluded preliminary investigations into FETÖ infiltrators in law enforcement and the judiciary who contacted their FETÖ handlers in charge of the infiltrators through payphones. Some 2,000 suspects were identified in the investigation that revealed secret tactics the group employed to avoid detection. A similar investigation in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has seen the detention of hundreds of serving and former soldiers.
FETÖ is known for practicing utmost secrecy in a fashion that is likened to the tactics of professional intelligence agencies. Senior figures of the group never directly contacted other members and often used point men who arranged secret meetings, former Gülenists say. Prior to the coup attempt, Turkish intelligence discovered that the terrorist group used - and is believed to have developed - ByLock, an encrypted messaging app, used exclusively to relay high-ranking members' instructions to FETÖ members.