Turkish police arrested 33 suspected members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in nationwide operations and seized a number of yellow vests, which are nowadays associated with violent protests in France.
FETÖ is accused of carrying out the July 15, 2016 coup attempt through its infiltrators in the military and is known for its members' call for unrest on the social media to overthrow the elected government.
Twenty-two of the suspects were caught in "gaybubet" (absence) houses, safe houses fugitive FETÖ members' use, in the western province of Bursa.
Among them were a fugitive prosecutor and alleged so-called "imams" controlling FETÖ's police and military infiltrators.
During the operations, the suspects tried to destroy their cellphones, data cards and flash disks. In one house, police seized 19 yellow vests, fake ID cards and money hidden inside cooking pots. A FETÖ suspect, who was caught with some of the vests, claimed the vests were used "in environmental protests." Police also found a large cache of books penned by Fetullah Gülen, the U.S.-based leader of the group.
Separately, in the capital Ankara, 11 teachers were arrested in a probe for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted smartphone app linked to the group.
Ankara prosecutors had previously issued arrest warrants for 14 teachers on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organization. Police are still looking for the remaining three suspects.
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 and dismissed from their jobs in the public sector after the attempt.