Nationwide operations were launched by Turkish police on Friday to capture 114 suspects accused of having links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Suspects are sought as part of two investigations by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara. They were identified as “secret imams” for the terrorist group. In FETÖ jargon, secret imams are handlers for the group's infiltrators in several critical places. Those sought in the Ankara-based probes were “imams” for infiltrators in the Gendarmerie General Command and provincial, district governorates. National Intelligence Organization (MIT) cooperated with police to identify the suspects.
Ninety-nine suspects among the wanted were allegedly handlers for FETÖ’s infiltrators, mostly military officers, in the gendarmerie forces. Some 73 among them were civil servants who were earlier dismissed from their jobs on suspicion of FETÖ links while the rest were “private sector employees” according to the investigators. Fifteen other “secret imams” are wanted in a separate investigation on FETÖ infiltrators in governorates. Seven among them were civil servants who were already investigated for possible links to the terrorist group.
Several district governors have been suspended from their duties and arrested on charges of FETÖ membership since the investigation began over the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by the terrorist group’s military infiltrators.
Operations are underway in 45 provinces to capture the suspects.
Police in Ankara announced Thursday that they detained 4,724 suspected members of FETÖ last year.
While 246 out of 4,724 detained FETÖ suspects were remanded by judges, a total of 1,244 detained suspects accused of terrorism benefited from the “effective remorse” law, it said. The law grants lenient sentences and sometimes, release, for terrorist suspects who collaborate with authorities. Thousands of FETÖ members were identified in the past few years thanks to information by collaborators.
As a result of the statements of suspects who benefited from effective remorse, Ankara police identified 19,856 other FETÖ members in 2021.
Moreover, with the information received from those who benefited from remorse law, Turkish police in the capital identified a total of 4,780 unindicted FETÖ members, according to the police statement.