Fifty-four suspects were detained and more suspects are wanted in nationwide operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Friday.
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara, in Istanbul and the central city of Konya issued arrest warrants for 137 suspects and police launched simultaneous operations all across Turkey to capture them as part of investigations into the terrorist group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
In Ankara, the Chief Prosecutor's Office ordered the detention of 35 suspects, including 10 active-duty military officers in Turkish Naval Forces. Thirty-two were detained while a manhunt was underway to detain the rest when Daily Sabah went to print. Prosecutors say suspects were in touch with FETÖ's point men via payphones to avoid detection and some were already dismissed from the army on the suspicion of links to the group.
Arrest warrants were issued for 60 people by prosecutors in Konya and 22 were arrested on Friday in operations in 26 cities. Suspects were "secret imams," a name used to describe FETÖ's handlers for its infiltrators in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). They were identified through testimony of soldiers and "imams" captured in earlier operations.
In Istanbul, prosecutors sought the arrest of 42 suspects who were users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app developed and exclusively used by members of the terrorist group. Suspects were identified through messages deciphered by security forces examining the app's servers. Media outlets reported that suspects included former public sector employees, including teachers, engineers and tax inspectors.
The terrorist group, which is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people, is accused of employing its infiltrators from the air, land, naval and gendarmerie forces of the TSK to attempt to overthrow the government. The attempt failed due to a strong public resistance against the putschists and tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested in its aftermath.