Police have detained 32 former and active-duty soldiers linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in counterterrorism operations on Friday. Suspects were part of a secret military network of the terrorist group whose infiltrators in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) carried out the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and killed 251 people.
Prosecutors in the northwestern province of Bursa issued arrest warrants for 49 suspects including 25 active-duty soldiers; 32 were arrested when Daily Sabah went to print late Friday. Operations were carried out in 25 provinces to capture the suspects who were identified through their links to FETÖ's non-military handlers. Authorities say that suspects were detected after they contacted or were contacted via public pay phones with their handlers within FETÖ. It was one of the dozens of investigations launched across the country after the group's communication method involving pay phones was uncovered. Hundreds were already detained in other investigations. The communication scheme involves handlers or officers calling a payphone number agreed upon previously. Pay phones used for communication are usually located in busy public places to avoid detection. Handlers either relay instructions during short conversation on the phone or give code words for a secret meeting point to infiltrators.
In Istanbul, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 48 FETÖ suspects on Friday. Suspects were civilians but wanted for controlling military infiltrators of the terrorist group. The prosecutor's office said they were identified with the testimonies of FETÖ suspects who were detained in previous operations and collaborated with authorities. Suspects were "teachers" for military infiltrators, a term used for FETÖ handlers, who controlled every aspect of FETÖ followers' lives starting from their youth. They were accused of instructing young members to attend military schools and supplying them questions and answers to exams for admission to those schools.