Turkish police detained 34 suspects, including military officers, in nationwide operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Friday. It is the latest wave of operations against the group since Turkey managed to quell the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people. The attempt is blamed on military infiltrators of the terrorist group.
In Bursa, a city south of Istanbul, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 38 people including active-duty and former military officers, from colonels and majors to noncommissioned officers. Twenty people were detained in operations in Bursa and 10 other cities.
In Istanbul, the Chief Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants for 39 suspects and 14 were detained when Daily Sabah went to print late Friday. The suspects captured in operations in 12 provinces were identified as FETÖ members for their use of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used by the group.
Prior to the coup attempt, Turkish intelligence discovered that FETÖ used ByLock and uncovered millions of messages, from simple greetings from the group's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen to instructions on how to avoid detection. ByLock is believed to have been devised by developers linked to the terrorist group.
An investigation into the app identified over 92,000 users, officials say. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said last week that a total of 92,702 individual users and 215,092 accounts used by FETÖ members were discovered
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, judiciary and bureaucracy. 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 or dismissed from their jobs in the public sector after the attempt.