Dozens of soldiers and prison guards were detained on Friday in operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is blamed for July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
In Istanbul, fellow gendarmerie troops arrested 40 members of the gendarmerie command of the city for their FETÖ links. Suspects were identified through their contacts with the terrorist group's non-military members via payphones and all were active-duty personnel. Investigators in Istanbul launched a probe into FETÖ's payphone scheme to contact military infiltrators last year and since then 3,313 soldiers were found to be linked to the terrorist group. Some 1,973 of them were directly involved in the 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people and 1,128 of them were captured in earlier operations. More than 300 among them collaborated with authorities, helping identify more suspects.
In the capital Ankara, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 87 former members of the Turkish Air Force and 41 were captured when Daily Sabah went to print late Friday. Operations were carried out all across the country to capture the suspects.
The terrorist group is accused of employing its infiltrators from Air, Land, Naval and Gendarmerie forces of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to overthrow the government. Their 2016 attempt failed due to a strong public resistance against the putschists and tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested in its aftermath. The Air Force was key in the coup attempt and airstrikes by putschists initially gave the impression that the coup would succeed. A large number of people were killed in airstrikes near the presidential complex in Ankara and the bombing of the Parliament further increased panic in the country.
In the western city of İzmir, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 62 suspects, mostly prison guards, in an investigation into FETÖ infiltrators among prison staff. A total of 53 people were detained in the operations. Like military infiltrators, they were in contact with their FETÖ handlers via payphones, security sources said. In another operation in Istanbul, 13 suspects were detained in an investigation targeting FETÖ's safe houses. Police found fake IDs in possession of suspects who went into hiding after the 2016 coup attempt.