60 military officers detained in operations against FETÖ

Published 08.01.2019 00:00
Updated 08.01.2019 08:00

Police have detained 60 out of 100 suspects with arrest warrants yesterday in an operation on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). All of the wanted suspects except one - a retired colonel - were active-duty soldiers, and operations were underway to capture the remaining suspects in Ankara and 40 other cities when Daily Sabah went to print.

The suspects were wanted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating military infiltrators of the terrorist group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people. They were members of the land forces of the Turkish army and were identified through their phone calls via payphones. FETÖ, known for its intelligence agency grade tactics to avoid detection, uses payphones to contact its infiltrators in the army, earlier investigations revealed.

The terrorist group is accused of employing its infiltrators from the army's air, land, naval and gendarmerie forces to overthrow the government. Their 2016 attempt failed due to a strong public resistance against the coup plotters, and tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested in its aftermath.

The coup attempt took place one month before a planned purge of suspected FETÖ infiltrators in the military and was the bloodiest attempt to overthrow the government by the terrorist group, which used its infiltrators in police and judiciary in 2013 in an attempt to seize power in two separate coup bids.

Following the putsch bid, security forces also stepped up operations targeting the "civilian" leg of FETÖ, including those that had not actively participated in the attempt but were suspected of financing the terrorist group. Trials are also underway for FETÖ's nonmilitary members. Yesterday, a court in the southern province of Gaziantep ordered international arrest warrants for four members of a business dynasty accused of funding the terrorist group. The Ninth High Criminal Court in Gaziantep ruled that four from the Nakıboğlu family, which once controlled Naksan Holding, be issued arrest warrants in a case of terror financing against the family. Cahit Nakıboğlu, the patriarch of the family who was released pending trial due to his health problems, was the only defendant in the courtroom and repeatedly denied charges of membership of a terrorist group and aiding a terrorist group. The fugitive defendants in the case were spotted in the United States in the summer of 2018 by Anadolu Agency (AA). Two among the four had fled to the United States in 2014 when the Turkish judiciary started proceedings against them on charges of aiding a terrorist group.

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