53 arrested in operations against FETÖ

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 18.09.2019 00:14

Police Tuesday arrested 53 people wanted for links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

The operations were part of a nationwide crackdown on the terrorist group. The crackdown has been underway since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt carried out by the group's military infiltrators.

Fifteen out of 29 wanted suspects were arrested in operations in six cities after prosecutors in the central city of Konya issued arrest warrants.

The suspects are accused of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app developed and exclusively used by the terrorist group's members. They are also accused of investing money in the now-defunct lender Bank Asya upon the orders of FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen. Bank Asya was shut down following investigations into its illegal money laundering activities for FETÖ. Operations were underway to capture the other suspects when Daily Sabah went to print.

A similar operation was carried out yesterday after arrest warrants were issued by prosecutors in the capital Ankara.

Prosecutors ordered the arrest of 35 suspects accused of using Bylock and depositing money in Asya Katılım Bank also linked to FETÖ. Fourteen were arrested in Ankara and seven other cities.

Also in Ankara, arrest warrants were issued for 28 people, including former police chiefs, police officers and civilians suspected of having links to the terrorist group.

Elsewhere, 13 people including eight active-duty soldiers were arrested in a probe into FETÖ's network of infiltrators in the Turkish Air Forces. Chief Prosecutor's Office in the southern city of Antalya ordered arrests for suspects who also included three military cadets and two retired soldiers. Four among the captured were released and placed under judiciary control later.

Prosecutors in the western city of Balıkesir ordered the arrests of 10 active-duty soldiers and all were captured in operations in seven cities and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Suspects were part of an infiltrator network and maintained contact with FETÖ's civilian handlers via payphones, according to prosecutors.

The terrorist group, which disguised itself as a charity movement with religious undertones for years, sought to seize power in 2013 with an investigation into people close to the government under the guise of a graft probe.

Three years later, it tried to topple the government again with its military infiltrators. The coup attempt in 2016 was ultimately foiled and was followed by a state of emergency. Tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested following the coup attempt. Today, security forces carry out operations against FETÖ almost on a daily basis.

In the capital Ankara, police yesterday arrested Adem Dağdeviren, a former police chief who was at large after prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him for membership of the terrorist group. Dağdeviren was captured in an operation against ByLock users.

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