Over 9,000 suspects netted in FETÖ payphone probe

YÜKSEL TEMEL
ISTANBUL
Published 20.02.2019 00:07

A clampdown on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) has led to the arrest of 9,352 suspects in two years based on an investigation into their communications using payphones.

The terrorist group's infiltrators in the military, law enforcement and other organizations used payphones to avoid detection by police. However, confessions of FETÖ's former members and the surveillance of payphones led police to identify suspects.

Since March 2017, when the first operations against payphone-using members of the group were launched, security forces have been conducting almost daily raids across the country to capture them.

Most of the suspects are military officers and civilians who were point men for FETÖ, controlling military infiltrators. Some 3,631 among the captured were remanded in custody, while others were released with judiciary control.

Approximately 46 percent among the detained invoked the "remorse law" that allows terror suspects to get away with more lenient sentences if they collaborate with authorities and provide credible information leading to the capture of other terrorist group members. Figures about the number of detained surfaced in an indictment on Şükrü S., a noncommissioned officer who was arrested for FETÖ membership.

Another 735 FETÖ suspects identified through their payphone communications remain at large.

The indictment also touches on how FETÖ employs its infiltrators in the military. It says every infiltrator was tasked with entering information about their military unit every month to a database stored in encrypted memory sticks exchanged between the group's point men and military infiltrators.

The information mainly focuses on the inner workings of the military unit, especially personal data on military personnel. Findings in other investigations on the terrorist group revealed several databases set up by the group about military personnel "supporting or opposing" the group. The terrorist group is already accused of running sham trials to imprison its critics and military officers they had deemed an obstacle to their infiltration into the army.

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