Police captured 79 people in nationwide operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) yesterday. The suspects were military infiltrators of the group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and civilians secretly harboring ties with FETÖ.
In the western city of İzmir, the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office ordered arrests in two separate operations. In one operation, 23 suspects, mostly military officers, were arrested while the other operation netted 39 suspects accused of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used by the terrorist group.
Military officers captured in operations are accused of maintaining contacts with their handlers for FETÖ via payphone, a commonly employed tactic of the terrorist group to control its infiltrators. Civilians captured in ByLock operations were identified through an investigation that covers deciphering millions of messages exchanged between group's members as well as instructions from FETÖ's senior cadres.
In the central city of Konya, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 23 suspects and 17 suspects were detained in operations in Konya, Adana, Ankara, Balıkesir, Amasya, Kayseri, Kütahya, Kırklareli, Malatya, Şırnak and Tekirdağ when Daily Sabah went to print. All suspects were members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), including three colonels and officers from lower ranks. Like the operation in İzmir, they were identified through their use of payphones to communicate with FETÖ's point men responsible for them.
The terrorist group is accused of employing its infiltrators from Air, Land, Naval and Gendarmerie forces of the TSK to overthrow the government. Their 2016 attempt failed due to a strong public resistance against the putschists.