Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants for at least 110 suspects yesterday in their operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Among the suspects were military officers and former and current staff of the Health Ministry, including doctors. FETÖ is accused of carrying out the July 15, 2016, coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured 2,200.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office sought the arrest of 100 former and active-duty officers from the Land Forces Command of the military. An arrest warrant was also issued for "a secret imam" who was an employee of the Commerce Ministry. The title refers to the terrorist group's point men in charge of infiltrators in different organizations.
The coup attempt was the work of Gülenist officers according to multiple indictments. The suspects were identified through their contacts over payphones, a method widely used by FETÖ to dodge the authorities. After the payphone use of group's members was discovered by investigators two years ago, thousands of suspects were detained in nationwide operations. Security forces still carry operations almost on a daily basis to capture FETÖ infiltrators in the military. Authorities said 67 sought by Ankara prosecutors were serving officers while others were earlier dismissed from their jobs pending investigation into their possible links to the terrorist group.
In a separate probe, Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office ordered the detention of five former and four current employees of the Health Ministry and private hospitals. A total eight were arrested when Daily Sabah went to print. One suspect on the run was Ayşe Delibaşı, wife of Tuncay Delibaşı, a fugitive senior member of the terrorist group. Tuncay Delibaşı is known to be the private doctor of FETÖ leader, Fetullah Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania, U.S.
Under the increased scrutiny following the coup attempt, FETÖ members started fleeing the country and hundreds are believed to be taking shelter in Europe where their asylum requests are often approved. A border patrol unit in Edirne, a northwestern city bordering with Greece, captured a FETÖ suspect yesterday near the border. Traveling with him was a member of the terrorist group PKK, identified as O.K. The two suspects, who had traveled from the southern city of Gaziantep to Edirne, were remanded in custody. In another operation, police detained three FETÖ suspects as they were about to board a boat to Greece through the Meriç (Evros) River on the border.
In related news, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that 257 among 806 suspects detained earlier this month in nationwide operations against FETÖ, were remanded in custody. They were arrested in connection with an investigation into the group's mass cheating scandal involving a police promotion exam in 2010. Prosecutors had sought the arrests of 1,112 suspects in the investigation that laid bare how the group planted its infiltrators in higher posts in the law enforcement.
FETÖ is known for mass infiltration over three decades in the military, law enforcement, judiciary and bureaucracy and exams were crucial to achieving this purpose. It is already implicated in a string of probes that revealed the group supplied questions and answers of exams to its followers beforehand. A recent AA report says 198 suspects detained in the investigation agreed to collaborate with authorities and gave information about the group's illegal activities. Investigators discovered 1,853 new suspects thanks to the new information.